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Mawada, a Yemeni human rights organization, is carrying out a project in Aden during 2021 with the support of Operation 1325. The aim of the project is an increased knowledge about UN Security Council Resolution 1325 amongst the participants. The importance of Resolution 1325 and the continual work for women’s inclusion in civil society is communicated via their Facebook page.

During the project’s first meetings, the 10 female participants gathered to discuss and gain new knowledge about Resolution 1325. Operation 1325’s Acting Director, Charlotte Lind, gave the opening speech. Samah Yousef, Chairperson of Mawada, notes the commitment amongst the participants.

– If they have not heard from me in a few days, I receive numerous messages from the women asking when the next meeting will take place, Samah explains.

The reason why the women are so committed is due to the feeling of ownership, as this is a project created by them, for them.

During the meetings, the participants talked about challenges and needs and discussed the importance of women in leadership positions. Despite the current lack of women in high positions, participants believe that change is possible. They discussed the gender roles in the country where they saw a shift after 2015, the year the war broke out. The situation required many women to start working and many became responsible for both family and livelihood. The participants believe that this change can lead to women being able to advance to decision-making positions.

Spreading knowledge through social media

In order to reach out to the public and spread their knowledge, the participants have created a Facebook page. They use the page to communicate knowledge and information based on what they have discussed during their meetings. The page has gained many followers and contributed to great engagement amongst the public. Samah describes how she receives many messages from Yemeni women in civil society with questions about the project and a desire to be involved.

Two of the participants have also participated in radio programs to talk about Resolution 1325 and women’s rights. Both women talked about the importance of advocacy work and that this must continue until the message of women’s inclusion reaches the government. Among the participants there are many journalists who together will write a report that will be published on the Facebook page.

Expansion of knowledge

Samah further explains why the project is important and describes the on-going humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen and how it has affected all of society. Before 2015 there were many programs and initiatives that focused on knowledge sharing about the judiciary, women’s rights, and democratic programs at the national level. But since the outbreak of war, Yemen has been in a crisis, and because of this, most of the organizations active in the country, local and international, engage in humanitarian aid. As a result, there is a lack of information on women’s issues and Resolution 1325.

– Young women do not possess this knowledge, but they want to learn, says Samah.

During her time as Chairperson of Mawada, she has noted that young women want to learn how to write reports to the UN on for example, men’s violence against women, on rape and harassment during conflict, protection of women and the importance of women’s inclusion in peace processes.

– To have power, you must have knowledge, Samah states.

What she is referring to is if those in power see that there are women who are strong and possess the right knowledge, they will trust these women. Samah notes that there was some progress before the pandemic, when they saw a few women in politics. Unfortunately, this has stalled, but she is hopeful that this progress will continue in the coming year.

The work continues

During the next phase of the project, the 10 female participants will pass on their knowledge to 100 women in Yemeni civil society. The result of these discussions will be shared through the Facebook page where they will also broadcast a live meeting.

To read more about the work they do, click on their Facebook page HERE.