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Demo Finland supports Puntland’s democratisation

Together with its partners, Demo Finland has launched a project to support the democratisation of Puntland in Somalia by strengthening the development of political parties and the participation of women and young people. 

Puntland was established as a semi-autonomous regional state of Somalia in 1998, and there is an ongoing transition from a clan-based system of government to a multi-party democracy. Elections covering all municipalities in Puntland are scheduled to be held in April 2023. Nine newly established political associations are standing for the upcoming municipal elections, out of these three will be selected to become permanent political parties. Both young people and women are often excluded in politics, and power in the clan system has traditionally been in the hands of older men. 

Together with its partners The Oslo Center and PDRC (Puntland Development and Reseach Center), Demo Finland has launched a project that provides technical support for the political participation of women and young people, as well as for building and developing political parties. The goal is to strengthen inclusive multi-party co-operation. 

“Democratisation in Puntland is only taking its first steps, and multi-party system is new. Political parties need support to strengthen their programmatic work and to ensure that women and young people will also be represented”, says Jonna Haapanen, Demo Finland’s Director of Programmes. 

In the pilot phase of the project, women councillors are trained and women’s political organisation in parties and women’s associations is supported. In addition, we support women’s cross-party networking and women’s co-operation with other key stakeholders. Religious leaders, elders and men who are active in political parties are engaged in supporting women in political decision-making and as actors in the parties’ development. The political participation of young people and their understanding on political decision-making is also strengthened. The project lasts until June 2023, and it is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency SIDA

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