Mogadishu | Mogadishu

Terms of Reference


This assessment study is a key activity that will contribute to the Police Component of the UN Rule of Law Joint Programme (2015-2016) and it is based on consultations with and priorities identified by the Gender Unit of the Somalia Police Force (SPF), Puntland Police Forces and Somaliland Police Forces.

In Somalia and Somaliland, police officers may be the first state responders to incidents of sexual and gender–based violence such as domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking, among other forms of violence women and girls experience. Although police personnel may have limited reach outside of key towns and cities in Somalia, cases of violence against women and girls are often reported to the police, and in conflict-affected or post-conflict settings, to the military. While family members, civil society organizations, traditional and local leaders very often provide initial support to survivors of violence, the police are a survivor‘s first point of contact with the state in many cases, and it is critical that they have the institutional and human capacities to respond appropriately and sensitively to the needs of survivors. This will encourage survivors to report their experiences of violence and provide them with the relevant services and referrals to medical and psycho-social assistance, as well as shelter, legal, economic and other forms of support.

The Gender Unit of the Somalia Police Force (SPF) was established in December 2015. Its mandate is informed from the various global, regional, and national policy commitments to gender equality and women empowerment (including the Beijing Platform of Action; the Sustainable Development Goals; the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA); the African Charter and Its Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa for Gender Equality). These policy instruments provide a framework for integrating gender perspectives into the implementation of civilian policing mandates at policy and operational levels.

A Gender Unit has also been established within the Somaliland Police, while the possibility of similar institutional development initiatives is under consideration within the Puntland Police Force. The promotion of gender equality, women’s empowerment and the provision of better gender-responsive services is thus a common concern within police forces in Somalia and Somaliland.

In this context, gender mainstreaming entails integrating gender perspectives into the police structure and administration, and improves police response to gender-based challenges within and outside the police institution. It refers to the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action including legislation, policies and programmes in all areas and at all levels. It is a strategy for making the concerns and experiences of women and men an integral part of design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in security sector reforms, so that women and men contribute and benefit equally, and inequality is not perpetuated.

With the establishment of the Gender Units, the integration of gender in the Somalia and Somaliland police forces has been recognized as key to operational effectiveness and institutional credibility. For example, increasing the recruitment of female staff, preventing human rights violations, and collaborating with women‘s organizations in creating an efficient, accountable and participatory police force, which responds to the specific needs of men, women, girls and boys. Mainstreaming gender into police forces in Somalia and Somaliland also involves identifying/assessing the different insecurities faced by men, women, girls and boys. The results of the assessment might in turn highlight the need to include gender initiatives that address the particular security needs of women, men, boys or girls within police security programmes.

Women often bring specific skills and strengths to police work, such as the ability to diffuse potentially violent situations and employ good communication skills to minimize the use of force. Furthermore the specific cultural context of Somalia makes it difficult for women and girls to report sexual assaults to male police officers. In Somalia and Somaliland, female officers are necessary to perform the cordon and search of women, widen the net of intelligence gathering and assist victims of sexual violence. Creating police forces that are gender responsive increases the credibility, trust and legitimacy of the service in the eyes of the public. Gender responsive police forces also increase operational effectiveness, through access to a broad range of skills, experiences, education and culture, which maximize the ability to deliver solutions to domestic problems relating to women and children.

As UN Women increases its support to the SPF, Ministries of Justice, Attorney General Offices and relevant state authorities to improve accessibility of judicial remedies and processes for women, it is timely to support the SPF as well as Puntland Police Forces and Somaliland Police Forces to undertake a comprehensive baseline and understanding of the situation of female police officers across Somalia and Somaliland. To date, there is an absence of a comprehensive, accurate and updated study specifically on the situation of female officers and a baseline study of their roles and responsibilities, aspirations, skills and capacity is essential to developing gender-responsive police institutions and to ensure compliance with national and international human rights frameworks (SC Res 1325 ICCPR, African Charter on Human and People’s Rights).

Expected results

UN Women – in cooperation with the Gender Unit of the Somalia Police, Puntland Police Forces and Somaliland Police Forces – is commissioning a study on female police officers at the federal and state levels. The results of the study will:

  • provide an overview of the status and situation of female police officers at the federal and state levels through the collection of baseline data;
  • identify strategic and operational niches for deployment of female police officers across Somalia, taking into account the diversified security levels and contexts[1];
  • inform strategic approaches to gender-responsive human resource policies in police forces;
  • identify the areas of support and the training needs for female officers to undertake their mandated roles and functions;
  • address challenges and obstacles to female officers performing their functions;
  • support the development of security plans and operations to prevent and respond to SGBV;
  • help to meet government targets in SC Res 1325 on women’s participation and representation in the justice and security sector.

Scope of work

The research would be led by a team of local researchers in close coordination with UN Women’s Gender and Police expert and the SPF Gender Unit. Puntland Police Forces and Somaliland Police Forces will be also actively engaged in the design and implementation of the research. The study will build on existing relevant studies and assessments.

The assessment will be implemented in four stages: (1) pre-assessment phase and assessment design; (2) collection of data; (3) organization and analysis of data; and (4) elaboration of report.

The study will collect sample baseline data on female officers and will include the following (but not conclusive) questions:

  • Baseline data: general information about respondents (i.e., age, education, location of origin, location of service, n. years in service, role/functions, rank, type of tasks performed during service, training received, others)
  • What are the numbers and respective positions of male/female personnel within police forces?
  • Are strategic targets and other initiatives in place to increase the recruitment, retention and advancement of women (including those from marginalized groups)?
  • What are the trainings (basic and/or specialized) that female police officers receive before and during service (including type of training, information received, frequency, post-training support, etc.)
  • Do women and girls have equal access to education and training so that they can qualify for positions within the police and armed forces both at entry and senior levels?
  • What functions do female police officers carry out as part of their duties? Do these functions take into account the specific needs/requirements of women and girls and are they sensitive to these needs?
  • Are women prevented or discouraged from serving in police institutions due to discrimination?
  • What is the society’s perception of women police personnel? Does this constitute a barrier/challenge for their deployment and/or performance?
  • What are the challenges to increasing training, recruitment, retention and advancement of women?
  • What stereotypes exist regarding women‘s roles as they relate to participation in police/security forces?
  • How are female police/security personnel perceived by their peers and their community?
  • Are equitable and family-friendly human resource policies and practices in place – such as adequate maternity/paternity leave, flexible work hours, child care facilities and equal pay, benefits and pension?
  • Do female personnel have access to separate facilities, well-fitting uniforms, appropriate equipment, training, and other resources?
  • Is there a female staff association? Is there a formal mentoring programme for female staff or informal monitoring process?
  • What data are collected and analyzed on staff turnover and retention? Are these data disaggregated by sex, rank, ethnicity and reasons for leaving the service?
  • What is the literacy levels of each female officer suitable for trainings and tasks assigned to them?

The information collected will be disaggregated per geographic location to provide an overview of potential differences existing at state/regional level.

The study may also include research questions on the effective functioning of the Women and Children’s Protection Desks and SPF Gender Unit as they relate to the female police officers.

For the detailed Terms of Reference,Scope of Work and Deliverable please follow the link:


Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.
  • Organization: UN WOMEN - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
  • Location: Mogadishu | Mogadishu
  • Grade: Mid/Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Criminology, Police Affairs and Anti-Corruption
    • Gender Mainstreaming
  • Closing Date: 2016-06-08

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