Garowe 21 July 2017—New office facilities for Ministry of Women Development and Family Affairs of  Puntland was recently handed at a colorful ceremony  held in Garowe. The function was presided over by the President of Puntland, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali ‘Gaas”. The facility -among other important landmarks- consists of 22 offices, large conference hall, women resource center, children’s day care and wheelchair accessible ramp for disabled people. The project is implemented within the framework of UN Joint Program on Local Governance and Decentralized Service Delivery that has been active in Puntland over the past nine years.

In her remarks, the Minister of Women Development and Family Affairs, Anisa Haji Moumin underlined the importance of this building to the ongoing efforts of gender streamlining and women empowerment in Puntland. “It is the first and only public building with wheelchair -accessible ramp not only in Puntland but also across the country” she said, highlighting the unique features of the building and its remarkable significance.

The Senior Program Manager of UN JPLG, Mr Paul Simkin drew the attention of the audience to the gender disparity of local councils in Puntland where 88% is male. He hoped this improved office facility will inspire more women to participate in local governance.

He requested greater and inclusive engagement to ensure participatory and fair representation necessary for good local governance.

Mr. Doudou Mbye, the acting Chief Technical Advisor of UN-Habitat Somalia Program expressed his appreciation of the fruitful partnership with UN-Habitat/JPLG on one hand and government institutions (Ministry of Women Development and Family Affairs and Ministry of Public Works and Transport) on the other that culminated in this outcome warranting celebrations. He mentioned that UN-Habitat has been an active development partner in Somalia for more than twenty years. He also briefly reminded the audience of the other major interventions UN-Habitat successfully implemented in Puntland. These include building own-source revenue generation capacity, infrastructure and urban planning initiatives, land governance including reducing land-related conflicts through establishment and operationalization of Land Dispute Tribunals, proper waste management and appropriate disposal practices, to mention a few.

In his remarks, the President Mohamed Ali “Gaas” thanked to UN agencies that contributed to the successful implementation of this building. “We have been inaugurating many public properties for the last couple of years, but this building I toured today is exceptional” he asserted. He went on and praised the architectural design, contractual procedure and supervisory role.  “The design is so elegant, contracted transparently and delivered in the most effective and economic way. There is nothing like it" he professed. The president attributed the success of this project to the leadership of women whom he said are more honest, more hardworking and transparent than men.

The president received the hand-over certificate of the building from Mr. Mbye of UN-Habitat. The handed-over package included two garbage compactor trucks and eighty litter collection bins for Bosasso and Gardo local governments intended to improve social well-being and a Toyota pick-up for Ministry of Interior.

Recognizing its strategic partnership, the president of Puntland awarded a Certificate of Appreciation to UN-Habitat for contributing to local good governance and service delivery in general and constructing MOWDAFA office facilities in particular.