In Yemen small grants were provided to local civil society initiatives to enhance the safety of women. Recipients of the grants in Mukalla, a coastal city in the governorate of Hadramawt, are having a positive impact by working with women and families on everyday safety concerns writes Marwa Baabbad.
Although Yemen is known as a country where people die as a result of conflict, many others, especially women and children, lose their lives as a result of gas cylinder explosions. According to official reports, of the 16 million gas cylinders on the market, more than 4 million are damaged, threatening the safety of hundreds of women and their families. In Jumhurriyya Hospital in Sana’a alone, there were 328 injuries and deaths in 2009, the last year for which figures are available.
As part of Saferworld’s Strengthening Women’s Public Voices project, a small grant was provided to women’s groups who are interested in improving women’s safety and security in four different governorates across Yemen. As part of this, Faiza Ba-Matraf, who is the head of Women National Committee (WNC) in Mukalla city, received a small grant for a project to increase household safety for women.
In coordination with the Civil Defence Authority in Mukalla, the WNC held three days of training to raise awareness of household safety measures. In the training participants learned about the different types of damage that can be caused by gas cylinder explosions, and how to act if one of these accidents occurs, with a short exercise on using fire extinguishers. Thirty housewives and women activists were carefully selected to receive the training so they can help their families and pass the knowledge on to other women’s groups. “The plan was to train 15 participants, but as we received many requests from women to join the training, we doubled the number. It’s our role as civil society to take action and to support those in need of it in our community,” explained Faiza Ba-Matraf.