Partners-Yemen (PY) opened in early 2009, to support civil society development, conflict resolution, leadership development, and civic engagement.
Local Engagement for Advocacy and Dialogue (LEAD)
The LEAD project is helping local civil society organizations (CSOs) play a constructive role in the development of a new constitution and government framework for citizen participation.
This project is building the capacity of 27 local CSOs, particularly women- and youth-led organizations, in Sana’a, Ibb, Taiz, Aden, Albaidha, Shabwa, Hodeidah, and Abyan. With Partners’ mentorship, LEAD CSOs have helped Yemeni citizens take an active role in the country’s political transition through conducting outreach and education on transitional priorities, advocating for citizens’ rights, and directly engaging with the transitional government on the constitutional development process, to ensure that National Dialogue Conference (NDC) recommendations reflect the concerns of Yemenis in hard-to-reach parts of the country.
Through 79 public forums, LEAD CSOs have raised public awareness of constitutional rights and obtained feedback from 4,680 Yemeni citizens, including women and youth, demonstrating that these CSOs have emerged as effective channels of communication between local communities and the national transitional government. LEAD CSOs have also raised the profile of local community concerns to the national level by conducted 46 agenda-setting dialogues across the country.
Strengthening the Role of Youth in Cross-Tribal Conflict Mitigation
With PY, Partners is organizing youth in the vulnerable region of Aden to build peace. Under this pilot initiative, Partners and PY are mediating youth peer-to-peer conflicts; training young people to resolve and prevent conflict; and ultimately preparing youth to advocate for their causes and influence district councils and tribal leadership.
The initiative is also empowering young women through the development of a women-led youth council that fosters non-violent approaches to build peace between different tribes, offering an opportunity for young women to contribute to peacebuilding as well as recast their role in Yemeni society.
Supporting Transitional Awareness and Reconciliation Techniques (START)
Through local reconciliation mechanisms, the START project is ensuring that the grievances of all Yemenis, including local tribal and religious leaders, women, and youth are heard and addressed during Yemen’s transitional period. These grievances range from abuses of power by government officials under the former regime, to disappearances of loved ones, and crimes committed during the civil war.
To encourage broader civic participation and attract traditionally marginalized populations, such as women and youth, Partners and PY are mentoring a cadre of inspiring Community Facilitators (CFs) in Abyan, Taiz, Aden, Lahj and Ibb, in mediation and reconciliation skills, as well as training them to conduct facilitations, community outreach campaigns, and conflict-sensitive development planning.
START-grown CFs and women leaders are also raising general public awareness of the national transitional justice process in Yemen by reaching out to individual communities to convey transitional justice principles, promote the NDC's achievements, and build public confidence in transitional justice authority.
Yemen Civil Society Strengthening and Participation Program (YCSP)
YCSP was a two-year program aimed at strengthening civil society actors and increasing engagement between civil society and local councils in Shabwa, Al-Baydha, Ibb, and Mareb.
YCSP trained a core cadre of 20 Mobilization Facilitators, from local CSOs, who act as the driving forces for community activities. With ongoing mentoring from Partners, these facilitators disseminated skills to a select group of 400 women, CSO representatives, community leaders, tribal leaders, religious leaders, local councils, civic leaders and key local government officials in the selected governorates of Mareb, Shabwa, Al Baydha and Ibb. Through a rigorous training program and participation in concrete community projects, these participants built relationships across sectors, applied newly acquired skills, and established innovative models of Yemeni civic participation.
YCSP competitively awarded 20 small grants for local CSOs - community committees formed by the 400 trained leaders - to support up to 80% of the implementation costs for priority projects. Finally, YCSP worked through CSOs, local councils and government staff in the governorates, Sanaa University, Ibb University, Mareb College, and Shabwa College, as well as development and governance experts to analyze and refine the ensuing models and lessons learned for broad dissemination of methodologies and practices, highlighting success stories and encouraging replication.
Development Dialogue Forum (DDF)
DDF was an initiative focused on creating an open, safe, and neutral forum for influential tribal and civic leaders from Mareb to discuss critical development issues facing their governorate with key government officials, donors, and the private sector. Facilitated discussions and relevant training sessions empowered Marebi tribal leaders to engage their communities and local councils in promoting the idea of community-driven development and acquiring new techniques for resolving conflict. In October 2010, the program was rolled out in the Shabwa governorate.
The Balqees Initiative (TBI)
TBI was a leadership development and community-level awareness raising program targeting women and youth from Mareb. An initial 25 women leaders were recruited and trained in community engagement and basic health, education, and economic development best practices. These women were then responsible for training an additional 240 women from their local communities, who hosted 4,000 community outreach events throughout Mareb on relevant education, health, and economic development topics reaching over 30,000 women and youth.
In October 2010, the project was extended into the Shabwa region. The aim is to reach an additional 30,000 women and youth through local women leaders.
Yemen Community-Based Conflict Mitigation Program (Y-CCM)
The Y-CCM program was created by Partners and PY to work with Yemeni community-based organizations (CBOs) and local councils in tribal areas to establish conflict mitigation interventions.
This two-year program intended to build sustainable systems for immediate and long-term interventions that address root causes of conflicts. In a water-scarce country like Yemen, these root causes include natural resources and extend to a lack of access to educational and health services and conflict between corporations and local communities. These interventions were community-based mitigation and reconciliation mechanisms developed in under-served tribal areas. The program also empowered Yemeni youth and women by actively including participants from these groups in each step of the process.
Components of this project included a training of trainers workshop on conflict sensitive development, a training curriculum adapted to the Yemeni context, for 20 participants (CSO, local council, and tribal leader representatives) from Mareb, Ibb, Jawf, and Shabwa. During the training, participants were introduced to documented tribal law on mediation and arbitration, a rare opportunity, and discussed ways for using tribal law to avoid or manage conflict in the future.