The Gender Inequality Index for Somalia is 0.776, placing Somalia at the fourth lowest position globally. The participation and role of women in politics and decision-making spheres is extremely limited, women constitute a marginal proportion of representatives in Somaliland’s local municipal councils. In the 2002 local elections, only 2 members out of 353 council seats were won by women, which stand at a meager 0.5 per cent.
Thus, commitment to gender equality and representation in decision-making for women still remains drastically underrepresented in district councils in Somaliland. As a consequence of the above, the Joint Program for Local Governance’s (JPLG) training program on leadership, whose main objective is to strengthen the capacity of potential women candidates in leadership, tried to create an impact on the women candidate participation in the Somaliland local council elections on 28 November 2012.
The impact of the training has been an increase in the number of women candidates standing for election in 2012 compared to 2002 local elections. The National Election Registration Committee registered a total of nearly 2400 candidates for 353 council seats and of them 172 were women of whom 10 were actually elected as local councilors. This constitutes an increase of 8 women (or 400%) councilors from 2002 when only 2 women were elected.
Cibado Mah Elmi, who is one of the newly elected women councilors for the Gabiley local government says: “This reflects a positive impact on women’s presentation in the local councils and will increase women’s involvement in political decision making processes. Women will contribute meaningfully to improved livelihoods through effective and equitable service delivery’’. As women constitute more than 50 % of the population and are indeed the main users of key public services it is logical that they should take their place in democratic decision-making structures.
Cibado Mah, Gabiley LG council member participating in garbage cleaning
 United Nations Development Programme (2012). Somalia Human Development Report 2012: Empowering Youth for Peace and Development, p.
 The electoral system was different in 2002. The political parties listed their candidates sequentially and the candidates were listed by the political parties but the number of women listed as candidates was 5 women.