Partners-Yemen (PY) opened in early 2009, to support civil society development, conflict resolution, leadership development, and civic engagement. PY operated four programs focused primarily in Shabwa, Al-Baydha, Mareb, Ibb, and Al-Jawf, with national level activities and main office in the capital city of Sana’a.
Yemen Civil Society Strengthening and Participation Program (YCSP)
YCSP, funded by the Dutch Embassy in Sana’a, 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 civil society organizations (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 funded by the U.S. Embassy. The purpose of the program was to create 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)
Also funded by the U.S. Embassy, 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 woman leaders.
Yemen Community-Based Conflict Mitigation Program (Y-CCM)
The Y-CCM program, funded by USAID/CMM, was created by Partners for Democratic Change and Partners-Yemen to work with Yemeni 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.