Fostering Entrepreneurship among Somali Survivor and At-Risk Women

Organisation: Mensch

Partners: IIDA Women’s Development Organization; International Rescue Committee (IRC); Benadir University; Iftiin Foundation

Location: Somalia

Type of grant: GBV

Status: Completed

  • UN Photo/Stuart Price. A Somali woman, waiting for medical assistance from the African Union Mission in Somalia. Mogadishu, Somalia.


To decrease GBV vulnerability of internally displaced Somali women and to challenge deep-seated social norms and systemic inequalities, the project will develop entrepreneurship trainings, micro-grants, and business mentorships as a path to economic independence for women.

What humanitarian need is being addressed?

Most GBV interventions focus on psychological, medical, and legal support for survivors, but do not challenge the power imbalances that are embedded in Somalia’s culture (DFID 2014). Women continue to dominate in precarious, low-paid work and often tolerate GBV because of their reliance on income.

What is the innovative solution and how will it improve existing humanitarian practice?

Economic independence has been shown to empower women, to enable them to make choices about their safety, and to change behaviours and attitudes in society that lead to GBV. Entrepreneurship, as a path to economic independence, can have a profound effect on changing such relationships of power and of uprooting systemic inequalities. It requires focussed training for survivors and at-risk women to strengthen the mind-set, skills and tools necessary to become entrepreneurs.

Expected Outcomes

The project aims to develop an entrepreneurship training and mentorship concept that would equip women with the mindsets, skills and tools necessary to start and build viable businesses, allowing them to become financially independent. Training modules would not only include basic market research, resource management and accounting, but also enable them to harness human-centred design to discover customer needs and to create businesses with a positive impact on their communities. Due regard is being given to the sensitive context that the country and this issue afford, and the vulnerabilities that could be exposed.

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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