Young Samira Hussein Duale championing the rights of Somali women
Samira Hussein Duale believes the fight for women’s rights knows no boundaries. Though born and bred in Kenya, Samira moved to Somalia, her ancestral home, in March 2014, to fulfil her teenage dream of not only becoming a women’s rights champion but also the first female President of Somalia.
In April, the same year, her journey to become a human rights activist began, when she attended a meeting for Somali leaders to discuss federalism held by United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). The discussions opened her mind to the plight of Somali women and prompted her active involvement in fighting for their rights.
“I developed interest in the politics of my country and how I can take part in the shaping of the new Somalia. I regularly attended and actively participated in most of UNSOM’s programs especially those on women and youth. I help in mobilization and facilitation of meetings,” she recalls.
Though she has won many accolades in her career, the 2015 essay competition on Women’s Political Rights, organized by UNSOM, stands out. Samira was one of the three participants selected as youth ambassadors to spearhead the push for women’s participation in leadership. It was not a new role for Samira, as she was an active member of Kenya National Youth Parliament, between 2005 and 2011, where she promoted the involvement of young women in leadership.
Concerned by the political and socio-economic problems women are facing in Somalia - and the need to find an urgent solution to the challenges -, Samira and her like-minded Somali youth ambassadors began advocating for the 30 percent women’s representation in Parliament during the 2016 electoral process.
“We are advocating for women’s quota because it is important that women be part of the political process. We want women to have the bargaining power in the decision making process and their voices heard. Women are loyal to their communities and they work hard. They know how to manage homes and having women as president; ministers or members of parliament will undoubtedly lead Somalia to progress. In addition, Somalia will also inspire the rest of Africa,” says Samira.
Samira urges Somali women to continue fighting for their rights for the benefit of current and future generations.
Though she currently works in the Office of the Prime Minister as Youth and Gender Advisor, Samira still finds spare time out of her busy schedule to manage a centre that guides and counsels young people on education, career and relationships. The objective of the centre is to inspire the youth, especially young women, to have a clear vision and goals that can help them realize their full potential.
Though she has fulfilled her dream of becoming a women’s rights champion, Samira is not done yet. Her next target is the presidency.