The ‘My World’ campaign in Yemen, under the slogan ‘Let the world know what you want!’, was initially launched in June 2013 and was planned to last for a month, aiming at getting 10,000 Yemenis to answer the survey over phone. Now, more than 121,000 votes later, the goal has changed: Let’s get Yemen the highest response rate in the world! Or even better, let’s get 1 million Yemeni votes! So far, the votes from Yemen constitute 8,5% of the 1,4 million gathered globally.
What people really want
In a time when the country is still in transition and looking at ways to implement the recommendations following the National Dialogue Conference, the results of this survey show what most Yemenis are concerned about. So far, the results reveal that people want a good education, better job opportunities and a responsive government.
“The problem with transitional governments and societies going through instability is that the voice of the public’s sustainable development needs disappears in the cry for more urgent issues such as uprisings and terrorism”, says our partner Khair Al Din-Nsour, Director of the NGO Y21F, “For the first time ever, all Yemenis are directly asked what they really want. The campaign invites Yemenis from all walks of life to think about their priorities, and what is important to them and their families in the future.”
Yemenis are encouraged to dial a toll free number and chose one of four options through four different questions, rating what is most important to them. The campaign has been widely publicized through a customized media campaign in five governorates: Sana’a, Aden, Hodeida, Tai, and Ibb.
More than 3 million SMSs
The most effective outreach proved to be sending SMSs. Y-Telecom sent out more than 3 million SMSs to their subscribers to encourage participation in the survey. “We want a peaceful and prosperous Yemen. It is our duty to participate in a campaign that is designed to reach people on different levels, and enable decision makers’ move towards people’s needs and goals. Playing a part in this, even if small, makes us proud. Our motivation for this involvement is also captured in our slogan, “واي واليمن سعيد” meaning “Y and Yemen is Happy”, with reference to an ancient name for Yemen ‘Arabia Felix’, or ‘Happy Arabia’”, says Rawad H. Al-Maqtary, Marketing Director of Y-Telecom.
Moving the campaign forward, MTN, Yemen Mobile and Sabafon joined the campaign on 19 February. The toll-free number 2015 is now available to all mobile subscribers in Yemen for free.
Optimism in a challenging context
“Yemen is a beautiful country with a rich diversity and history, and optimism does exist. Through this campaign I think we have encouraged that optimism by engaging the public. Despite all challenges people are facing, it shows that people from the north and south, from west and east, all have the same concerns affecting themselves and their families. I also hope that the campaign can raise a new voice from Yemen to the world, and I that the world outside will listen to what this voice has to say. Yemenis deserve that,” says Alvhild Stromme, Communications Specialist at the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office. “We as the UN are very grateful for the efforts our private sector partners, Y Telecom and Menavas, have put into this for free, it would not be possible without them. We now look forward to see what the results will be as MTN, Sabafon and Yemen Mobile have joined the campaign as well,” she says.
“It is not always easy to work in a place like Yemen, but this is our country, and we are devoted to do something good for our fellow Yemenis. Through the team working on this campaign there has been commitment, with little resources and limited time we have gotten a lot done. It makes me very encouraged to see how the UN has been eager to make this happen in our country, and I am glad we as a company can be part of it,” says Bandar Mohammed, Marketing Manager in Menavas.
UN RC Office Yemen