"With your help we can increase awareness on the negative health consequences and human rights violations of female genital mutilation. We are grateful for your support, which we need to continue the fight against FGM in Somalia."
- Hawa Aden Mohamed
Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development (GECPD)
Formed in 1999 to offer education opportunities for women and girls, today the Galkayo Center (GECPD) works on many fronts to address gender inequality in Somalia.
The mission of the Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development (GECPD) seems simple, but in Somalia, that mission is complex and hazardous. Formed in 1999 to offer education opportunities for women and girls, today the Galkayo Center works on many fronts to address gender inequality in the country. Their main programmatic interventions include: providing education for girls, adult literacy, increasing employment skills and opportunities for women, human rights advocacy, youth organizing, and fostering women’s leadership in peace building and emergency relief. An integral part of the Galkayo Center’s mission is to end FGM in Somalia where the prevalence rate is 98%. GECPD integrates awareness about the harms of FGM into all of its programing and advocates for an end to FGM hoping that future generations will abandon the harmful practice.
When the Galkayo Center began in 1999, Hawa Aden Mohamed and her co-founders were in danger. Men feared they were encouraging women to desert them; they stoned the building and threatened partners for opposing FGM and early marriage. Today the communities the Galkayo Center serves acknowledge the FGM program and praise its work. As Hawa says: “If you are illiterate, you can’t question. In Somalia there are still places where they haven’t heard that FGM is not right. It will take time. But one day there will be no FGM.”
GECPD works in the Mudug region of Somalia - a pastoral nomadic region where girls and women were not valued. Since its inception GECPD has provided basic education to over 42,000 girls in the Mudug region increasing the girls enrollment rate from a mere 7% to 40% - the highest girls’ enrolment rate in the entire country. Nationally, only 24.6% of girls attend school in Somalia.
The Galkayo Center provides free education for more than 800 poor, orphaned, and displaced girls in primary school and for 1,600 girls over age 13 in “non-formal” education every year. The Center offers literacy programs for 2000 adult women, and supports 60 more in female teacher training, because many parents are more willing for daughters to attend schools with female teachers.
More than 20 women’s organizations rely on the Galkayo Center’s other services; it serves more than 500 women and children in towns and villages with medical care, vocational training, support for orphans, and support for the sole public school for girls in the area. The Galkayo Center is an environmentally friendly education and resource center for women and youth. Its education program for boys and young men ensures that they understand gender equity, keeps them away from the conflict and provides a safe nurturing space for the youth.
Hawa Aden Mohamed has received numerous awards recognizing her immense contribution to advancing human rights in Somalia. She received the Ginetta Sagan Award from Amnesty International in 2005 and UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award in 2011.
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Hawa Aden Mohamed
GECPD Founder and Executive Director
Hawa Aden Mohamed
To empower women through education, and promote and strengthen women’s capacity to seek, defend, and advocate for their fundamental rights in all spheres of life.
Transforming Outrage into Action – Hawa’s Story
By: DDA | Aug 21, 2013
The little girl’s father believed boys and girls should be educated, and he opposed female genital mutilation (FGM). The little girl’s older sister had died at age nine from tetanus, after being cut. If her father had had his way it wouldn’t have happened–but it was their stepmother’s responsibility. She knew no better.