Women, Peace and Security Consultant

American Bar Association

The EAJ is looking for a consultant to prepare such a research paper and to organize a workshop.

Key Objectives and Methodology of the Research Paper:

The key objective of the research paper is to explore how Shari’ah jurisprudence can positively contribute to promote WPS in Somalia.

The research paper will be based on literature research and a few key interviews with key respondents in the Shari’a and WPS field in Somalia. Literature research will focus on WPS activities and strategies undertaken to date and their outcomes and impacts. The research will identify whether the Shari’ah has played any role in WPS, and what potential intersections between the Shari’ah and WPS could be. It will further identify whether the Shari’ah has been applied in other countries in the promotion of WPS, and if so, what popular strategies were applied, as well as potential lessons learnt. It will also identify examples on how the Shari’ah is applied to further WPS results in other countries.

The research paper will make final recommendations to a variety of actors (international donors, local NGOs and CSOs, government, lawmakers) on how the Shari’ah can be successfully applied to promote WPS in Somalia.

Key Objectives and Methodology of the Workshop:

The key objective of the workshop will be to receive insights from women with specialist knowledge or experience in how to develop a faith-based approach to WPS interventions.

The workshop will consist of a variety of academics, politicians and practitioners, including women that have worked on WPS issues, women religious scholars or practitioners, and others. The one-day workshop will allow for a variety of brief contributions from experienced individuals and then provide the platform for an in-depth discussion on WPS and the Shari’ah. The workshop outputs will feed into the research paper and its final recommendations.

Experience and Qualifications:

The consultant should have the following experience and qualifications:

– A Master’s Degree in Social Science, Development Studies, Gender Studies or similar subjects

– At least 5 years of experience as a researcher

– Experience in gender and WPS issues

– A proven track record of report-writing skills

– In-depth knowledge of the socio-political context of Somalia

– Fluency in English and Somali.

About the Project:

The Expanding Access to Justice Program (EAJ) is a five-year associate award (2018–2023), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) via the Freedom House-led Human Rights Support Mechanism (HRSM) and implemented in partnership between Pact and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI), that aims to improve access to justice and mechanisms to address grievances in Somalia and Somaliland. The three main project objectives are 1) Support and improve inclusive community engagement in justice solutions; 2) Strengthen justice services; and 3) Improve navigation of justice pathways by aggrieved parties.

One focus of the EAJ Programme is Access to Justice for women, minorities and vulnerable groups. As such, the EAJ has received a separate grant from USAID to promote Women, Peace and Security (WPS) issues from a justice perspective.

Since the early 2000s, and especially since the passing of UNSCR 1325/2000 and follow on resolutions, a series of WPS interventions have been undertaken in Somalia. However, WPS activities have always been underpinned by the underlying tension between peacebuilding and the provision of justice. Women have been included and promoted to take the lead in peace initiatives, banking on their powerful roles as interlocutors between two subclans or even clans – the kin group they were born into and the kin group they married into. However, typical peacebuilding initiatives in Somalia often rigorously rely on traditional xeer dynamics to bring peace between two groups. On the other hand, the SCR resolutions promulgating WPS emphasize justice for all atrocities committed against women during conflicts. Justice, for example for victims of rape, however, is based on individual rights norms rather than communal justice. It can therefore be in stark contrast to the xeer. The departure from xeer norms in WPS has been difficult to promote or achieve in Somalia, largely because of the key role of communal peacebuilding norms in effective peacebuilding, but also because of lacking political willingness – underpinned by other political incentives.

Since this contradiction has not been overcome in 20 years of WPS practice in Somalia, the EAJ would like to explore the application of faith-based arguments in promoting WPS issues in the country. Given that the Provisional Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia emphasizes that no justice process may contradict the Shari’ah, there is a clear mandate for faith-based arguments to promote women’s peace and security in Somalia. Previous EAJ research has shown the significant role the Shari’ah can play in promoting individual rights-based justice norms, as it is based on such norms in principle, but also as it is broadly accepted within Somali society. The latter is in stark contrast to secular laws, which are often difficult to promote since they don’t reflect people’s culture and religious beliefs. However, these secular laws have been used as the centerpiece in attempts to create justice for women as part of WPS goals.

In order to elaborate and better understand the role that positive Shari’ah jurisprudence can play in promoting WPS, EAJ intends to a) commission a research paper further exploring the role the Shari’ah can play in promoting WPS; and to b) bring together a variety of women WPS practitioners, Shari’ah experts, and women empowerment specialists to collect further thought and better understand relevant strategies on this issue.

How to apply

Please send CV’s and additional relevant documents to: [email protected]