OP-ED

Supporting Youth Initiatives in Yemen Through Small Grants

Youth confrenece display at the cultural center
Written by Fakhri Al-Arashi

Despite the huge challenges faced by citizens in Yemen as a result of the current conflict, many youth and civil society activists continue to play extremely positive roles in their local communities.

Saferworld has been working with youth activists and networks since 2010, and over the years we have worked with youth from every governorate in Yemen. Like all Yemeni citizens, youth activists have been hit hard by the increasing levels of violence in the country and difficulties in accessing resources. However, in many areas, youth groups and youth initiatives are helping to bring their communities together and help those who are most in need.

As part of our ongoing youth project, Saferworld is supporting a series of local level initiatives led by youth groups across Yemen, focusing on promoting social peace and coexistence through unique and creative ideas. Currently we are supporting five initiatives through micro-grants and a mentoring programme:

  • The first grant has been given to a unique foundation, based in Al-Hodeidah called Banat Al-Hodeidah (Al- Hodeidah Girls). The foundation was co-founded by a number of young female activists with experience in women’s empowerment and engaging youth programmes. Since the war started they have been supporting children and seniors who have been traumatised by the war and focusing on peace-building programmes. As part of the Saferworld project they will be making a short movie and a song which will be shared via social media in Yemen to encourage youth to build peace and look to the future.
  • Also based in Hodeidah, the Peacemakers Team will be conducting an interactive theatre show that will raise audience awareness on peacebuilding. Excitingly they will also be screening Banat Al-Hodaida’s movie at their shows. The team was established by a local actor who is also running a YouTube programme called ‘Salam’ (peace).
  • In Seyoun a foundation called Al-Wasat that focuses on empowerment, training and workshops for youth to learn more about peace is creating a group called the ‘Peace Maker Club’. The group will bring together media activists to train them on peacebuilding concepts and how to make short films that reflect these concepts.
  • The ‘We Can’ initiative in Taiz is run by a group of youth activists who are focusing on outdoor community activities for young people including: small meetings, festivals and street-cleaning. They will conduct an open day celebration for the children of Internally Displaced Persons to raise awareness of peacebuilding and help them share their stories of the war.
  • A talented team of youth based in Aden will be conducting a ‘Pecha Kucha’ event. Pecha Kucha is an international event model where presenters show a series of 20 images each for only 20 seconds, talking the audience through the images. The event will focus on promoting peace and issues that affect youth including employment.

We will be awarding a second round of micro-grants for youth-led peace activities in April 2016. For more information, please contact Nada AlMoayed.

The project is funded by the European Commission’s Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace