After five years of conflict, the situation in Yemen is urgent. The involvement of international players, the impact of blockades, and continued fighting among conflict parties have caused untold suffering to Yemeni people. At the international level, ongoing efforts to restart peace talks have failed to gain the trust of many.
Our work in Yemen is unique in a time where humanitarian aid is seen as the priority by the international community. We work to strengthen the role of civil society and Yemeni communities to rebuild their social fabric and address the problems they face in daily life.
In 2020, we focused on growing our partnerships with civil society – which remains largely underfunded and absent from the global advocacy stage – to help expand their work and communicate their expertise to influence policy. Our civil society solidarity fund provided grants to small organisations to work on projects that are in line with the everyday needs of communities. We facilitated discussions between our partners to encourage sharing of knowledge and to build new relationships. We also saw the work of groups from previous projects continue to flourish through their own means and provide a model for sustainability.
In 2019, we supported our partner the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies on an advocacy trip to meet with policymakers and journalists in Brussels, London, Paris, Geneva, Beirut and Amman, to bring to light under-reported aspects of the Yemen conflict. We also published a report that highlights the ways young people are working towards peace in Yemen.
With the onset of COVID-19, we supported our partners to respond rapidly to the crisis. As well as remote training – including adapting our WhatsApp peacebuilding course to create awareness of COVID-19 – we worked with doctors from the diaspora in the UK to produce informative healthcare videos for Yemeni social media. We also worked with communities to set up valuable initiatives such as renovating an unused hospital in Abyan and distributing protective supplies to those most in need.