Diakonia - People change the world


Diakonia has been working in Somalia since 1994. Our work is concentrated to the northern Puntland region. Its focus has shifted from building schools and prisons to broader work with in human rights and democracy.

Somalia is situated on the Horn of Africa, covering an area one and a half times the size of Sweden. The country has not had a fully functioning government since 1991, when president Barre was overthrown and civil war broke out. In 2012 a new parliament and president were elected, and Somalia had its first internationally recognised government since 1991.

Despite this positive development, the political situation and security inthe country is very fragile. The government only controls part of the country. The Puntland region, where Diakonia operates, has been spared from armed conflict, although kidnappings, piracy and trafficking occur. Lately, the security situation of the Puntland region has deteriorated due to the presence and activities of the terrorist group Al-Shabaab.

Raising awareness on democratic issues

The context in Somalia was, and continues to be, complex due to the intricate blend of culture, religion and human rights. Since there was no constitution until 2012, there was no defined basis for introducing democratisation to the people of Puntland, and Diakonia’s partner organizations used literacy and skills training interventions to indirectly introduce democratic principles in the curriculum. In recent years, Diakonia’s partner organizations have been working with voter and civic education, as well as raising awareness of constitutional and democratic issues. They also work with human rights, gender equality, and social and economic justice.

Diakonia’s work makes a difference

  Diakonia has supported the establishment of Puntland Legal Aid Clinic ( PLAC) which provides access to legal aid for marginalised people in the Puntland region.

In conjunction with other actors, Diakonia and its partner organizations were active in lobbying for legislation prohibiting female genital mutilation to be passed in Puntland.

Over the past four years, Diakonia empowered a total of 6,290 women and girls through education-related interventions, consisting of literacy skills, teacher training, girls’ scholarships and vocational skills.

During the same period, Diakonia facilitated the formation of a Community Accountability Network ( CAN) that engages with the government on taxation issues. This yielded many successful results, among them the development of a comprehensive tax framework. The formation of CAN was a collaboration between Diakonia and the Tax Justice Network – Africa.

Read more about our work in Somalia

  • A training in entrepreneurship changed her life

    As recently divorced Amina, a 35-year-old mother of three, was dependent on family and friends to survive. Toxic gender norms and lack of education made it difficult to find a job and provide for her children....
  • Building a shelter

    Fariha Ahmed Hussein and her family live in Puntland, Somalia. They are used to living life on the breadline. Droughts come – that’s just life. “Droughts hit our livelihood – cattle – hard,” says Fariha.
  • Somalia: Tax awareness

    Diakonia supported the Puntland government in collecting tax, and influenced the tax system.