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Creative Partners for Artivism in Somalia

About Musawah

Musawah, the global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family, has been breaking new grounds since its launch in Kuala Lumpur in 2009, bringing together activists, policy makers, and religious scholars to challenge the ways Islam is used to justify discrimination against women, and to re-centre the voices of women living in Muslim contexts. Musawah is creating change within Muslim legal tradition using two strategies: challenging the ways Islam is being used to justify discriminations against women in law and practice, and offering a new knowledge-based discourse and framework to advocate for equality and justice for Muslim women and marginalised groups living in Muslim contexts.

About We Cannot Wait (WCW) Consortium

The strongest predictor of women’s economic agency and thus gender equality is the extent women have the legal capacity to make their own decisions impacting self and their family. Across the Greater Horn of Africa (GHoA), restrictions on women’s autonomy are widely embedded in customary and religious laws which are recognised in parallel with statutory law, civil codes, and social norms. Across the region, discriminatory family and personal status laws endure and are often justified with reference to religion, identity, and culture. 

The “We Cannot Wait (WCW): Towards an Inclusive and Diverse Women’s Movement in the Greater  Horn of Africa” consortium seeks to remove these restrictions and discriminatory laws and practices by building a strong and inclusive women’s movement able to effect change, focusing its work in Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and Somaliland, and Uganda. The WCW is a five-year project funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs implemented by a consortium of national partners from the five GHoA countries and technical regional partners Musawah and the SIHA Network – that is also the lead of the consortium.

The Women’s Storytelling and Multimedia Project (WSMP): Introduction

As a technical partner in We Cannot Wait, Musawah will implement the women’s storytelling and multimedia project (WSMP) in 2023-25 to strengthen women’s rights activists and organisations’ efforts in the GHoA. These women’s stories represent the lived realities element of the Musawah’s holistic Framework for Action which is imperative in effectively achieving reforms of discriminatory Muslim Family Laws. Other elements of the Musawah Framework of Action are islamic teachings; universal human rights principles and constitutional guarantees. 

The WSMP will not just compile the lived realities of Muslim women through stories but also share them in the form of cutting-edge multimedia products that are impactful and strike the hearts of those who receive them. These stories and multimedia products will also be used by the national groups to amplify the issue of discriminatory family laws, policies and practices to the general public and policy/law makers in the five GHoA countries to complement their efforts to advance advocacy efforts for reforms on the ground and at the international level to demand for change.

Musawah thus welcomes proposals from feminist creative individuals, collectives, organisations, and teams based in Somalia to partner with Musawah in gathering and conveying compelling stories, in multiple multimedia forms, about the impact of discriminatory family laws and practices on African Muslim women and girls and those living in Muslim contexts. 

Aims of the WSMP 

The WSMP, targeting the mainstream media as the primary audience and policy makers as secondary audience, aims to: 

  1. document life stories about African Muslim women’s carrying out their lives in the private and public spheres, the impact of discriminatory family laws and practices on these women’s, girls and marginalised groups’ lives living in Ethiopia, Somalia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda;  
  2. to amplify the lived realities of these African Muslim women and of those living in Muslim contexts; supplement ongoing advocacy efforts for progressive family law reform and mobilise a regional movement of African activists, civil society partners, and policy makers to influence policy change and bolster political will for progressive family law reforms;
  3. re-center these women’s lived experiences in the mainstream narrative of what it means to be a Muslim woman and to live in Somalia and the GHoA, and occupy spaces from which they have been traditionally and historically excluded by patriarchy;
  4. raise public awareness about the stories documented to generate grassroots demand on policy makers, government officials, media and implementers in the five countries to move them into action for reform of laws, norms, and practices.

Deliverables of the WSMP Project
  1. Raw compilation of four (4) women’s life stories per country in audiovisual multimedia format only; and 
  2. Produce one (1) written report in a creative format that is no longer than 10 pages per country documenting these women’s stories succinctly, highlight issues they face in relation to discriminatory family laws and what their needs and demands are to be fully empowered; and
  3. Produce at least one (1) creative, compelling and impactful multimedia production per country depicting all the stories collected in an audiovisual format such as a short film – documentary style/fictional; a play (radio, theatre or in person), supplemented by a visual and/textual product (such as illustrations, newspaper leaflets and creative pieces, etc), which can be used for national, regional and international advocacy initiatives. 

Scope of Work

The project will consist of two phases that will run sequentially  with the second phase coming after the first one. ‘Phase 1: Planning, Conducting Interviews and Story Gathering (April – August 2024)’ will focus on project planning, identifying interviews and gathering stories, and ‘Phase 2: Production and Sharing of Stories’ will involve compiling these stories and disseminating them through various multimedia channels. As such, Musawah seeks to hire a (team of) artivist(s) to carry out both phases of the project per each country. We cannot hire a (team of) artivist(s) to carry out the work in more than one country simultaneously except for the unique case of Somalia and Somaliland. The full list of preferred multimedia products for each country as listed:

CountryAudiovisual Multimedia Preferences
SomaliaShort film format (documentary style or fictional)

Phase 1: Planning, Identifying Interviewees and Story Gathering (April – August 2024)

1(a): Inception and Planning Workshop

The project will commence with a Musawah organised 2-3-days in-person workshop bringing together all (teams of) artivist researchers contracted to represent all five project countries, the project team, WCW partners’ representatives, and an external facilitator to collectively:

  1. familiarise with the purpose, people and processes of this project;
  2. finalise the multimedia product type for each country and project framework for gathering stories and the research methodology based on lessons learned from the Musawah Global Life Stories project;
  3. develop a story structure and clear calls to action as guidance for identifying, gathering and documenting stories to be produced and published;
  4. provide artivist research teams from each country with an opportunity to present their preliminary plans for the project, ideas for generating impact and discuss anticipated challenges together with mitigation plans; and 
  5. provide preliminary feedback and suggestions of artivism concepts from each research  team. 
  6. determine local languages to be added to the captioning and subtitles for the multimedia products

1(b): Fieldwork: Identifying interviewees and Gathering Stories

Fieldwork commences with regular progress check-in meetings with Musawah’s project team. In this phase, the artivist researcher contracted from Somalia will be expected to deliver the following:

  1. Within 10 days from the inception workshop – develop the end to end project timeline outlining fieldwork, reporting, analysing, production, Musawah review, finalisation of the 3 deliverables; .
  2. Identify and gather at least four (4) stories from interviewees
  3. Attend virtual project check-in and follow-up calls organised by Musawah. 
  4. Compile a report of the findings from the stories gathered and the experience

1(c): In-person Review Workshop (dates to be determined)

The in-person review workshop, to also be convened by Musawah, will bring together the lead creative partners, Musawah project leads, SIHA and WCW consortium representatives in the middle of the project to;

  • Review stories gathered and preliminary drafts of scripts for the media products to be produced
  • Share and provide preliminary feedback and suggestions for improvement for the stories to be produced
  • Determine local languages to be added to the captioning and subtitles for the multimedia products
  • Develop tentative media and dissemination plans for each project

Phase 2: Production and publishing of the stories

After successful completion of phase one, the second phase – estimated to be carried out in a period of six months between April 2024 to October 2024 – will involve translating the report and stories gathered  into one selected multi-media output into the following forms: a short film – documentary style/fictional; a play (radio, theatre or in person), supplemented by a visual and/textual product (such as illustrations, newspaper leaflets and creative pieces, etc). These will be focused on the journeys of the resource persons (interviewees) and (Muslim) women’s movements pushing for reform and women’s rights in their communities. During this phase, Musawah, in consultation with contracted artivists, will develop a media dissemination plan for each country, to be implemented at the end of the project.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

We welcome artivists/creative hubs/collectives with the following areas of expertise: 

  • Demonstrable knowledge and understanding of issues related to family law reform and women
  • Minimum of five years’ experience implementing activism and/advocacy projects using arts and creative strategies 
  • Proven commitment to human rights and women’s rights activism and demonstrable experience in social justice or human rights broadly 
  • Individuals/teams with interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain effective working relations with people in a multicultural, multi-interest, multi-ethnic environment, 
  • Ability to communicate and effectively produce multimedia products in English and a majority spoken local language of Somalia
  • Must be based in the country where the artivist research project is to be conducted.

How to Apply

To submit your application, fill in the Google Form via the relevant application links:


Your application should include the following: 

  • Latest resume(s);
  • Two (2) examples of previously completed artivism or creative work (or link to a website);
  • A maximum five (5) page proposal outlining the following: 
    • Research methodology 
    • Detailed timeline, budget & milestones
    • Resources needed from Musawah to conduct the project 
    • Deliverables
    • Team profile (if applicable)
    • Two (2) references from the previous organisation you worked with


Applications should be submitted not later than 16 April 2024.

We thank all those who apply; only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.