Aziza Abdikadir Hassan is a passionate humanitarian worker who joined the Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS- URURKA BISHA CAS) in February 2018 as a Data Entry Officer for the Health and Nutrition Department. Now she holds the position of Gender & Diversity Manager.
Sexual and gender-based violence including harmful traditional practices such as Female Genital Mutilation is extremely prevalent throughout Somaliland. To combat these issues, Aziza has consistently worked hard to train staff and community volunteers on sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response.
She has focused on improving the knowledge and skills of primary health care officers through comprehensive training on Sexual and gender-based violence, referral pathways and survivor centred care. She has also taken significant steps to orient volunteers and staff on Code of Conduct, Protection against sexual exploitation and abuse, Child Protection to establish safer working environment and ensure the delivery of high-quality gender responsive services.
Aziza made a notable impact in Female Genital Mutilation prevention through building the capacity of health officers and community volunteers to raise awareness and engage in community mobilization. She found that the behavior change process was not an easy exercise. It was challenging to change habits and practices for things as ingrained as Female Genital Mutilation. In several cases, she had to engage in multiple visits to help families understand the severity and risks associated with Female Genital Mutilation. In her opinion, female leaders, such as herself, promoting awareness faced tremendous cultural barriers due to the sensitivity of topics such as Sexual and gender-based violence, Female Genital Mutilation or Menstrual Hygiene Management . There is huge resistant from both women and men. While Aziza has been able to make concrete steps to reduce gender-based violence, she knows that there is still much more work to be done.
– Aziza Abdikadir Hassan, Somalia
”I am expecting more Somali women to join us to lead our communities, which can do remarkable changes to their day to day living with dignity and respect”.
In Somaliland, the number of organizations targeting Protection, Gender, and Inclusion issues are few and awareness at the community level was very limited. Aziza has been disheartened to witness that the community was not aware of how to access necessary services related to Protection, Gender, and Inclusion. Through SRCS, Aziza proudly initiated sensitization sessions in remote communities and created the opportunity to start critical conversations on important topics affecting the lives of at-risk women and girls. She is eager to continue working with the Red Cross-Red Crescent Movement by engaging with vulnerable groups at the community level to support the daughters, sisters, and future mothers of Somaliland.
“The women of Castiglione nursed and soothed the wounded soldiers, ut when the Red Cross was born, no women were in attendance. Today women are still nursing the wounded... But are they in on the decision making?”