Hudur, Somalia 12-05-2023 – The Somali Media Women Association (SOMWA) held a two-day communication and public speaking training for 30 current and aspiring female politicians in Hudur district of Bakool region, Somalia.
The training started on June 10–11, as the thirty current and aspiring women and politicians were those from minority, marginalised, and disabled backgrounds. Widespread illiteracy and a lack of opportunities to enhance women’s public speaking skills remain impediments to entering and effectively participating in elections in Hudur and across Somalia.
Speaking at the opening of the training, Shukri Bidhaan, the SOMWA chairperson, stated that SOMWA considers conducting a public speaking workshop for women politicians timely and will help female politicians become inspired, more confident, and articulate, ultimately building a pool of electorate. She added that whether they are meeting with clan leaders on their campaign trail, articulating their opinion in meetings, talking to journalists, or giving a speech, effective communication makes a difference.
Similarly, providing both existing and aspiring women politicians with public speaking skills will help to improve their skills and build their confidence and abilities as effective communicators, thus contributing to their political participation and representation.
”Many women with the knowledge and talent have left politics because of fear of public speaking and dealing with the media, so we welcome this training. “We also call on political leaders to give women a chance to join politics,” said Fadumo Abdirahman, women’s chairperson of Hudur district.
Opening the seminar, the Hudur district commissioner said ”Southwest state of Somalia is commended for its efforts to ensure the 30% quota for women, and I hope that after this training we will see more women participating in debates and competing with men in the political arena”.
Among the topics covered during the training are; building confidence, overcoming fear of public speaking, establishing rapport with the audience, Building trust and credibility Assertive communication, presentation skills, storytelling for inspiration and a call to action, handling and responding to criticism, dealing with the media, and developing political messages
During the two days of interactive discussion, the women highlighted that aside from the culture that does not allow women to hold public office, their fear of public speaking did not help either.
To overcome their fear of public speaking and gain confidence, participants prepared presentations and acted as if they were giving speeches to an audience. For the preparation of the challenging media questions during and beyond the election, participants conducted interviews among themselves as facilitators, observing their answers.
At the conclusion of the training, the participants gave their thoughts on the things they benefited from and stated that they had learned how to deal with media criticism and develop political messages during the election.
Shukri Bidhaan, SOMWA chairperson, showed her gratitude to UNSOM for the funds to train 30 current and aspiring female politicians and asked other international organisations to join initiatives that support women politicians to ensure that women’s equal political participation and representation in Somalia is fully achieved.