Local Engagement for Advocacy and Dialogue in Yemen
Partners' Yemen LEAD project is helping local civil society organizations play a constructive role in the development of a new constitution and government framework for citizen participation.
The Local Engagement for Advocacy and Dialogue (LEAD) project is building the capacity of 27 local Yemeni civil society organizations (CSOs), and 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.
The LEAD program has ensured that National Dialogue Conference (NDC) recommendations reflect the concerns of Yemenis in hard-to-reach parts of the country by gathering citizens’ inputs from outside the capital and communicating them to the NDC. With the conclusion of the NDC, Partners is now raising awareness of NDC outcomes in rural areas and collaborating with members of NDC’s nine working groups, and particularly with the Rights and Freedoms group.
As part of the ongoing constitution drafting process, LEAD CSOs are engaging citizens in the development of the new constitution by providing information about proposed provisions, and compiling and communicating public opinion to decision-makers.
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 also assists the CSOs engage with the transitional government and promote government accountability, transparency, and responsiveness to the needs of Yemeni citizens. LEAD CSOs have conducted 46 agenda-setting dialogues across the country, in turn raising the profile of local community concerns to the national level.
On a broad level, LEAD program activities are contributing to the public confidence in civil society’s important long-term role in policy development. The relationships CSOs have developed with government decision-makers and community leaders will allow for continued lobbying and advocacy efforts beyond the life of the program, paving the way for a more participatory process in government and increased government accountability to its citizens.