Political and social turmoil can often have the most impact on women, as traditional patriarchal models leave them vulnerable to instability. In Zanzibar, limited access to healthcare and food paired with high poverty rates affect women in particular due to their socially-constructed dependence on men. Somali women, especially those living in the diaspora, are confronted with female genital mutilation, reproductive health issues, malnutrition, and violent extremism. In order to gain insight into each country’s context and explore the potential for future outreach, Women without Borders (WwB) met with representatives of two major NGOs in Zanzibar and Somalia in Vienna on 20 Nov. 2012. They discussed the specific challenges in each nation with a special focus on women and their role in society.
Madam Shadya Karume, founding member and chairperson of ZAYEDESA (Zanzibar Youth, Education, Environment, and Development Support Association) and wife of the former president of Zanzibar (Dr. Amani Abeid Karume, in office 2000-2010)
Khadija Mohammed, senior official in the Zanzibar Ministry of Education and women’s empowerment advocate
Maimuna Mohamud, founder and president of the Oxford Somali Society and Somali activist