Flag of Somalia

Democracy, Human Rights and Governance

workshop participants
Participants at a workshop on designing performance evaluations

Strengthening Somali Governance

USAID’s Strengthening Somali Governance, is a nationwide activity to support the development of effective and accountable governance across the country.It supports efforts to enhance government outreach, increase citizen participation, improve the functional capacity of key government institutions, and expand women’s empowerment and leadership.  The program seeks to develop the capacity of governance institutions at the federal level and in Somaliland and Puntland.


The program works collaboratively with parliaments, key ministries and commissions, and civil society to improve core management functions, such as financial management, human resources, planning processes, and public communications and outreach to support the creation of strong and credible democratic institutions.

At the federal level, it improves the capabilities of parliamentarians and government officials to deliberate on, amend, draft, analyze and enact key pieces of legislation, and improves the administrative capabilities of government staff and/or civil servants to develop policies, effectively coordinate government systems, and efficiently manage daily operations.  In Somaliland and Puntland, this program strengthens the capability of governing institutions to transparently manage public resources, and meaningfully participate in critical planning processes.

Throughout the project, it has engaged civil society and the media to increase citizens’ awareness of key political processes, such as the 2016 political transition process and key legislation, government structures and activities, and the roles and responsibilities of executive and legislative officials to ensure greater transparency and engagement.


The Strengthening Somali Governance activity has provided technical support to the Federal Government of Somalia’s parliament in the preparation and drafting of several critical bills.  Three of these - the Foreign Investment Bill, Procurement Bill, and the Anti–Money Laundering and Financing Terrorism Bill – were passed by the Federal Parliament in the months of November and December 2015.  It also supported the development of the 30 percent Women’s Representation Bill, which aims to increase women’s participation in Somalia’s political decision-making processes by allocating 30% of all elected and appointed executive and legislative seats to women, through technical assistance to drafting and holding five consultations and public hearings with key stakeholders. This bill has now reached the Office of the Speaker for consideration.

In Somaliland, efforts focus on building the legislative branch’s ability to develop and pass key legislation such as the Public Financial Management Act, the Public Procurement Act, and the National Audit Act.  In 2015, the program supported the House of Representatives to hold public consultations on these bills to foster public engagement and input.  At both federal and regional levels, our support focuses on key oversight committees responsible for strengthening the accountability and transparency of executive branch institutions. 

We work with line ministries to improve their internal and external communications by providing skills development courses and hands-on mentoring. The program supported the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation to develop a communications strategy for the National Development Plan and a website to inform the public and stakeholders about progress and next steps. 

In preparation of the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Somaliland, the Strengthening Somalohas provided 10 small grants to local civil society groups to conduct voter education on the ongoing voter registration process. These local organizations are reaching 720 villages across all regions of Somaliland with community forums, theater and poetry performances, radio and TV programs, and vehicles with loudspeakers to promote the importance of voter registration and voting and inform the public about the registration process.