Asha Haji Elmi: A modest champion for Peace and promotion of rights in Somalia.
Asha Haji Elmi,a prominent Somali Mp and the wife of the current Somali Prime Minsiter Abdi Farah Shirdon, is an award winning Somali peace and rights activist, who puts the promotion of peace and protection of rights particularly those of women and children in Somalia before anything else in her life.
Born in 1962, Asha Hagi graduated in economics from Somalia National University and holds a Master’s degree in business administration from the US International University in Africa.
Asha Hagi co-founded in 1992, and is the current Chair of, Save Somali Women and Children (SSWC), which works for a safe and sustainable Somalia by supporting women to overcome marginalisation, violence and poverty in their communities. SSWC has seven paid staff and nine volunteers. A large part of the humanitarian funding comes directly from the Somali community around the world as well as from international organisations and individual donors.
During the Arta peace talks in 2000, Hagi is remembered to have founded, together with other women, the Sixth Clan, the clan of women, to complement the traditional five Somali Clans which are all male-dominated.
That signuficant but courageous step led for the first time that women were represented in a peace process in Somalia.
She played a similar role in the Mbagathi Conference in Nairobi (2002-2004), which gave birth to the Transitional Federal Government and the Transitional Federal Parliament, of which Hagi became a member.
When civil war gripped the country in 1991 and then Somali President Siyad Barre was ousted. A year later, Hagi created Save Somali Women and Children or SSWC to advocate for equal rights for women in politics.a quote in Asha’s own words, she famously said “Always conflict has two sides…a positive side and a negative side. It depends how you transform those difficult moments into useful and helpful, positive moments. Save Somali Women and Children was born out of that anger, frustration and the pain that we went through,” Hagi said.
“I know that one day I will be killed,” Hagi said. “I would rather die making a difference. I’m doing it for my daughters, for a new Somalia.” And that is what she is still doing in Somalia.
On the 30th January, she visited internally dispalced camps in the capital delivering clothes and other basic essential items to the women and chidren living there.
She has given a great amount of time to the IDP to listen and share their experiences in their daily lives and she allocated such that time to the IDPs clearly despite her tight schedule as she is an Mp, a mother, the wife of the country’s Prime Minsiter.
It is such that commitment, modesty and bravery that propel madam Asha’s energy to work and strive for the better of Somalia in the area of peace and protection of rights and that is how she has won global prestigous awards such as the Right livelihood award in 2008 and Clinton Citizen award in 2009.
But importatntly, Madam Elmi is still winning the hearts and minds of the Somali citizens by simply caring the most volnurable within the communities such as women, children and that is how she is called locally ’’the modest champion of Somalia in search of peace and promotion of rights,,
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