Inspiring community leaders in Somalia: Khadija’s story

Khadija Abdullahi Jimale works at the International Committee for the Development of the People in Somalia (CISP).

She trains local leaders in peacebuilding and how to deal with the needs and concerns of their communities. Khadija is also a youth and women’s rights activist.

International Alert works with CISP to improve the response to and prevention of gender-based violence (GBV). Together we help to ensure that survivors have access to the necessary medical, psychosocial and legal services. We also challenge existing social norms that perpetuate this violence.

I believe that one woman brings hope to her people. Many women bring hope to humanity. That is why women are key to achieving peace, stability and equality in Somalia, something I dream of seeing.

"The political, economic, social and security situation in the country is improving every day, so I hope to see women come together as one voice to fight for equality. I want to see more women in political leadership positions, taking part in decision-making and peacebuilding processes, and getting better economic opportunities."

Building change from the grassroots

"My work reinforces how crucial powerful community discussions are. They help us to achieve this equality. They give everyone, irrespective of age, disability or gender, the chance to participate and be heard when trying to resolve local conflicts and disputes.

To increase women’s inclusion in conversations, at both community and national level, we provide them with the training and skills to organise campaigns and become grassroots leaders. That way they can become advocates on key issues affecting their rights at a wider level."

Seeing the resilience and determination of women who are inspiring this community change is what made me want to get involved in peacebuilding, women rights and preventing GBV. Hopefully I can become a role model in my community for other women and young girls, to show them that they too can change their lives and shift attitudes towards women.

Sometimes our greatest obstacle is ourselves

"Women need to identify and understand what they want to change in their lives and understand they have the same rights as men. We all need to know and believe that we can make different choices; that we need to be more optimistic and more patient.

Sometimes the greatest obstacle between us and our goals is ourselves, or our inability to trust in what we are able to do as women. If you don’t believe in yourself or believe that you or your life can change, it just won’t happen. You won’t have even given yourself the opportunity to succeed and be strong."

> Read more inspirational stories from women around the world