In December 2018, parties to the conflict in Yemen agreed on a series of confidence-building measures known as the “Stockholm Agreement”, under the coordination of the Special Envoy for Yemen. One of the most striking observations of these talks was the lack of participation of young Yemeni women and men, who represent 70% of the population.
The specific issue that this project seeks to address is youth engagement in the peace-building process. Yemeni youth under the age of 30 represent almost 20 million people, in a country with a total population of 29 million inhabitants.
29 millioninhabitants in Yemen
20 millionYemeni under the age of 30
70%of the population is represented by the Youth
Ensuring young women and men are informed on peace negotiations so they can express themselves and contribute to shaping public opinion and influencing political decisions is therefore essential to build trust and a sense of agency and ownership over the peace-building process.
However, two key challenges are hindering this potential:
- First, in a context where independent media is under attack, young Yemeni women and men struggle to find reliable, fact-checked and duly-sourced information on the peace building process, including the ongoing negotiations. In a digital age, it is important to ensure that key discussions about the future of Yemen and the global youth, peace and security agenda are well articulated and explained to young women and men so they may understand their rights and contribute as potential solution providers.
- Second, Yemeni youth also lack spaces to freely share their perspectives on the kind of society they aspire to live in. Opportunities for exchanges, participation and dialogues on peace among youth, but also between youth and decision-makers are very limited. In this context, social media, among other means, has proven a very compelling tool to stimulate youth discussions online and circumvent some of the existing restrictions and security threats on offline youth activism and advocacy.
To address these issues, and reaching out to at least 200,000 youth in Yemen, this project therefore sought to better integrate the voices of Yemeni youth into the ongoing peace negotiations and empower them as actors of positive change in the peace building process through the use of media, communication and technology.
This project represented a timely opportunity to ensure that young people in Yemen are given a platform and the necessary support to be informed, actively participate, understand, reflect and contribute to the promotion of dialogue and peace in Yemen.
This project, through its inclusive and participatory approach, aimed to empower youth with the skills, knowledge and tools to create information, content and dialogue in support of the peace-building process. By combining online access to information and media development and assistance, it is the first youth-led and youth focus initiative in Yemen providing insights into the present-day opinions and concerns of Yemeni youth on peace-building while amplifying their freedom of expression and aspirations with decision makers, duty bearers and peace brokers.
The primary objective of this project is to make the peace-building process more inclusive and participatory by strengthening youth engagement through the use of media, communication and technology. This was done by improving access to information for youth on the peacebuilding process so they can increase their knowledge and make informed decisions. In parallel, the project provided young Yemenis with safe spaces of dialogue, including social media, online surveys, youth debates and radio programs to voice their needs and opinions with decision-makers and duty bearers.
Although the project sought to reach the whole country, activities focused on the five following governorates: Sana’a, Aden, Taiz, Hudeydah and Hadhramout.
A particular attention was brought to the participation of Yemeni women to the project. As figures show that young Yemeni women have a lower engagement rate on social media platforms, additional efforts were made to ensure the content strategy developed is gender-based, with specific measures to address and tackle gender gaps in online engagement.
ACTIVITIES AND OUTCOMES
This project is funded by the United Nation Peacebuilding Fund (UNPBF)
The UN Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) is the organization’s financial instrument of first resort to sustain peace in countries or situations at risk of affected by violent conflict. The PBF may invest with UN entities, governments, regional organizations, multilateral banks, national multi-donor trust funds or civil society organizations. The PBF works across pillars and supports integrated UN responses to fill critical gaps; respond quickly and with flexibility to political opportunities; and catalyze processes and resources in a risk-tolerant fashion. Website http://www.un.org/peacebuilding/fund
Our main implementing partner
RNW Media is an international organization based in the Netherlands. Its mission is to identify young people’s needs and to bring young people together in user-owned digital communities where they can safely engage on taboos and sensitive topics and generate strong stories for advocacy to unleash their potential for social change. Its vision is to contribute to a world where young people in restrictive settings confidently claim their rights, assume their place in society, and shape a better future.