News & events

Civil Society Solidarity Fund supports Yemeni organisations with grants

17 April 2020

In January 2020, ten Yemeni civil society organisations in Aden, Marib, Taiz and Hadramaut started working on independent projects funded by Saferworld’s Yemen Civil Society Solidarity Fund. The fund, supported by the European Commission, has provided grants of up to $45,000 to each organisation. The projects focus on peacebuilding, local conflict resolution, protection of human rights and promotion of women’s rights and participation in peace talks.*

Civil society organisations play a vital role in peacebuilding, development and humanitarian work in Yemen. But they often rely on international donor funding and struggle to sustain funding levels and staff while donor priorities fluctuate. These grants are designed to support the peacebuilding, rights and development work that civil society organisations cannot get funding for elsewhere, at the same time as enhancing their organisational capacities and supporting their efforts towards financial independence and sustainability, for example through fundraising activities. Through the process of grants and providing training and mentoring, Saferworld seeks to support locally-led initiatives in a way that is most appropriate for them, and ensure Yemen’s path to peace is Yemeni-owned.

Below is a summary of how each organisation is using the grants.

Forum for Students of Marib for Culture & Development (FSMCD)

Project title: Enhancing social and economic cohesion between displaced and host communities
Location: Marib governorate.

FSMCD works with young people and civil society to support peace-making efforts in Marib. In 2013, 30 young activists were able to mediate a long-running tribal conflict as a result of FSMCD’s training and support.

Through this grant, FSMDCD aims to do similar work with a group of 20 volunteers to strengthen social cohesion between displaced and host communities in Marib. The volunteer group is made up of local radio employees, civil society, specialists from the local authority’s office of education, and host and displaced community members. The initiative will include radio podcasts, community dialogues, school workshops, and economic initiatives with women from displaced and host communities.

Marib Dam Foundation for Social Development

Project title: Peace Ambassadors
Location: Marib governorate

Established in 2011, Marib Dam focuses on development in the Saba’a region. In 2019, they surveyed around 520 people from various backgrounds on expectations and possible solutions for the peace process in Yemen, in partnership with Resonate! Yemen.

Marib Dam will use the grant for awareness-raising activities on the importance of peace and social cohesion in Marib. The project will work with 20 young ‘peace ambassadors’ who will each benefit from peacebuilding training to perform social initiatives deemed useful in their communities.

Marib Girls Foundation

Project title: Early warning centre for solving conflicts and peace-making
Location:Marib governorate

Marib Girls is a women-led organisation focused on supporting women and youth participation in peacebuilding.

Through the grant, Marib Girls seeks to build on the historic role of tribal customs in building communal peace. Through a network of 30 young ‘peace ambassadors’ and a committee of 50 ‘wise men’ from tribal communities, they plan to establish an early warning centre in which the volunteers monitor and work to address potential conflicts inside tribes or between different tribal communities across ten districts in Marib.

Improve Your Society Organization (IYSO)

Project title: Youth Peace Leaders
Location: Taiz governorate

IYSO is a youth-focused peacebuilding organisation. It started off as a voluntary community initiative in 2010, before getting registered as an official organisation in 2015.

IYSO will use the grant to train 20 young men and women from ten volunteer community groups on peacebuilding skills including creating social cohesion, conflict resolution and advocacy. They will support these groups to implement initiatives that address community priorities identified through surveys the groups will conduct.

Youth Organization for Development & Democracy (YODD)

Project title: Developing tools and structures for peacebuilding and social cohesion
Location: Taiz governorate

Established in 2011, YODD focuses on encouraging young people and volunteers in the community to take up civic responsibilities and work towards fair and equal development.

YODD will use the grant to produce three peacebuilding guidebooks based on consultations with civil society programme managers, teachers, and youth activists. These guidebooks will reflect lessons learnt to help civil society organisations, local authorities, and activists working towards peacebuilding, and to guide the work of three women-led initiatives in Taiz, also set up by YODD.

Center for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (CIHLHR)

Project title: Student mediation and peace groups
Location: Taiz governorate

CIHLHR is a human rights organisation founded in 2006, aiming to raise awareness about international human rights law and practices.

Through the grant, CIHLHR will work with ten schools to train 60 teachers, students and counsellors psychosocial support and conflict resolution skills to tackle student bullying and violent behavior. Trained students will then form Student Peace Groups to put the training into action to raise awarness and act as a mediators in any arising conflicts.

To Be Foundation for Rights and Freedoms (Akoon)

Project title: Strengthening the active participation of women
Location: Aden governorate

Akoon is a women-led human rights organisation, and is a member of several women-led coalitions in Yemen and across the MENA region.

Akoon will work with 30 women on building skills and awareness of women’s legal rights, and political participation and advocacy, and will coordinate women-led efforts in these two areas of work. They will organise 16 focus group discussions tackling various political, economic and social questions on the role of women, and will present the findings during a public symposium. The finding will also act as a reference for future advocacy efforts.

Wogood Foundation for Human Security

Project title: Enhancing the role of youth and women in building coherent communities
Location: Aden governorate

Wogood is a women-led rights organisation established in 2012. It promotes the participation of women and youth to create a better future for human security and sustainable development.

Wogood will use the grant to facilitate discussion sessions for young men and women across eight districts in Aden to address social tension resulting from the conflict, based on which Wogood will support five community peacebuilding initiatives that respond to these issues.

Yemen Center for Human Rights Studies (YCHRS)

Project title: Resolving community issues and working with local authorities on follow-up solutions
Location: Aden governorate

YCHRS is a human rights organisation founded in 2003 with a long track-record in conducting field studies and surveys towards building peace. Recently in 2019, it surveyed the opinions of 660 Yemenis on the peace process through 12 focus group discussions across Aden, Lahj and Abyan.

Through the grant, YCHRS will survey the opinions of 600 Yemenis across Aden, Lahj and Abyan on the security and safety issues affecting their communities. YCHRS will develop recommendations for the local authorities based on analysis of the survey findings, and discuss these proposals in workshops with community members, authorities and civil society organisations.

Yemen Women Union

Project title: Legal protection of women and girls
Location: Hadramaut governorate

Yemen Women Union are one of the oldest women-led organisations in Hadramaut, founded in 1990 to promote women’s civil rights and deal with cases of violence against women.

It will use the grant to provide legal, psychosocial and economic support to women and girls who are survivors of gender-based violence.


* Civil society organisations in Yemen are now adapting some of these activities to include responses and adjustments in relation to the threat of COVID-19.

Photo: Youth Organization for Development & Democracy (YODD) training on how to use their peacebuilding handbook.