Towards Safer Communities, Sameera’s Contribution PDF Print

Sameera* is part of the team of Research Assistants, working to identify the social norms that hamper protection in Somalia.  With the experience gained while conducting the research to test the tools for the Social Norms project, Sameera exuded confidence when she set off to her designated district on 16th February 2014, for the baseline survey.

The tools provided through the collaboration of CISP and partners made the task easier for her, “using an ipad for data gathering is something very new in Somalia. But it is a very efficient tool since safety of the data is assured. Instead of carrying thick questionnaires, I only carry the iPad and a few papers.  Recording answers is effortless, I just tap on the screen!” she explained cheerfully.

The district assigned to Sameera has a high number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), a fact she explained made her experience different from that of her colleagues. “Most of my interviews though lengthy, were successful. The people I talked to said they are prone to violence owing to their circumstance. They cooperated and answered the questions I asked.  A few were openly skeptical about the research and what it may yield in future. One person told me that they have answered similar questions in the past and nothing has changed ever since. The individual suggested we stop bothering them,” she narrated.

Over the six days of research Sameera got a chance to see how the IDPs in Mogadishu lived and talked to them about their lives; an experience she says has had an effect on her character. “The livelihood and the general situation of the IDPs are really very appalling. Their shelter, food and sanitation are not fit for human beings!  The story of one old lady will stay in my memory forever. She is taking care of her eight grandchildren single handedly. Tears rolled down her wrinkled face as she narrated how their father, her son, died and their mother left them in her care. It was a very emotional moment that saddened me. This survey really opened my eyes and I feel obliged to do something positive for these people,” she declared.

By enduring the sunny and dusty Mogadishu days, Sameera and other researchers who took part in this survey are making a positive contribution to the lives of communities in Mogadishu; results gathered from this research will inform protection strategies in order to strengthen community based care for survivors of violence and encourage communities to protect women and girls.

Sameera appreciates the support given to her, “I received thorough training before the research process started. I believe this made my work in the field easier for me and the rest of the team. I believe taboos can be broken and minds can be changed. To me, being part of the team that works towards achieving this is a great thing that I will always cherish.”

*pseudonym used for safety




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