The feminization of Somali diasporic civil society: Women's organizations and the creation of humanitarian and political spaces in Somalia
MetadataShow full item record
The current focus of scholarship on Somali communities in the diaspora is primarily on remittances, providing a narrow view of the increasingly important social, economic and political contributions of diasporic communities to Somalia. This thesis argues that Somali civil society formation in the diaspora establishes transnational links to Somalia where humanitarian and political projects confirm the diasporic-country of origin interdependent relationship. This thesis highlights women's organizations as core to the formation of these transnational links; their work makes the sphere of diasporic Somali civil society a feminist arena. Drawing on qualitative interviews and observation of Somali women's organizations based in Toronto, Canada and Nairobi, Kenya, it can concluded that the geographical location of the organization determines the nature of work a diasporic women's organization-whether humanitarian or political. Changing political conditions and shifting clan dynamics in Somalia compel women's organizations, at both locations, to adopt strategies that ensure the survival of their transnational projects. Exclusionary factors such as funding provisions undermines the articulation of some feminist agendas. Through the comparison of Somali women's organizations in Toronto and Nairobi, this thesis suggests determinants of the feminization of civil society in the diaspora, and the role of transnational work in creating channels of engagement in Somalia.