Founded in 1999, the Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development is a Somalia-based nonprofit organization devoted to strengthening women’s rights through education, literacy and empowerment. In a country where less than a quarter of girls attend school, GECPD has helped push attendance in certain regions to over 40 percent, with upwards of 4,500 women and girls directly enrolled in GECPD’s educational and vocational programs. In addition, the organization trains and supports a corps of women teachers, whose presence in the classroom is crucial in encouraging families to send their girls to school.
Of particular importance to GECPD are the widespread practices of female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage. Attempts to raise awareness around these issues have made GECPD the target of sometimes-violent opposition, but have also found increasing acceptance as notions of women’s rights take root in Somalia.
A 2013 grant from the Cultures of Resistance Network, highlighting trafficking and FGM issues, supported GECPD's general operations. A 2014 grant provided continuing support for capacity building and general operations. Donor Direct Action served as fiscal sponsor for both grants.