Strengthening the Capacity of the Women National Committee in Order to Enhance Gender Mainstreaming in Yemen
KIT, in consortium with the Maastricht School of Management, was hired to strengthen the capacity of the Women National Committee (WNC) to guide the mainstreaming of gender and provide leadership for the improvement of the status of women in Yemen. The project strengthened WNC’s capacity to mainstream gender and address women’s needs and interests in government policies and programmes, particularly in the areas of health, education and water and environment.
The project had three main components. First: Capacity to mainstream gender whereby KIT delivered a series of trainings on gender analysis, gender mainstreaming and gender research. In addition, KIT provided ongoing technical support and mentoring in all but mainly in the research element of this component to support WNC actively engaging in gender research. Second: Women’s leadership, advocacy and networking focused on strengthened communication skills and leadership networking. Third: Institutional Management, led by MSM, focused on human resource development and business development. In addition, WNC received language trainings and fundamental capital investments to strengthen their institutional capacity.
The objectives and activities of the project were reviewed after 2014 in light of the political instability and ongoing conflict in the country, which has worsened since then. Yemen has been under political distress and armed conflict having serious implications in the daily life of the Yemeni people particularly when airstrikes began to be continuous since March 2015. Given this situation most of the planned activities for 2015 had to be postponed. Since then the security situation in Yemen worsened and WNC’s daily work was affected.
Given the current environment, particularly the uncertain political scenario, WNC’s position in Yemen is changing. Keeping in mind the project’s main objective, WNC’s activities in the project were re-directed towards a more humanitarian approach. Thus during 2016 and 2017 WNC has been using the project resources to build their capacity on humanitarian aid and policy making and networking in order to strengthen WNC as an organization advocating for women’s rights in conflict, considering the differential impact on women and men.
Main activities and outcomes 2012 – 2014:
- A core team of 16 people from WNC was built and worked very actively on component 1 engaging in a focused participatory capacity building process on gender analysis and research on Gender Mainstreaming (GM)
- Capacity on gender analysis and research for Gender Mainstreaming was built with this core team through a series of workshops and the design and implementation of 4 research studies on gender in Health, Higher Education, TVET and Water and environment.
- The 4 research studies were conducted in collaboration with the representatives of the Women Department of each correspondent Ministry. These studies were carefully designed and implemented jointly with KIT, WNC and 3 Yemeni researchers who conducted the data collection and initial analysis. The whole process aimed to train WNC staff on gender research and conduct relevant research that provided key data to WNC to develop their activities and future interventions in policy making in the country.
- The findings of the research studies were shared at the national level and provided an overall picture of the status of gender in these areas. Based on this WNC started to take steps to influence policy in 2014 until the beginning of 2015 when the project had to be postponed due to the political unrest.
- WNC hosted several Women International Conferences during the 5 years of the project. The conferences had great participation at a national level and were broadcasted.
- At the organizational level WNC has a draft institutional assessment based on which capacity building activities were conducted.
Shortcomings during 2015 – 2017:
Yemen has been under political distress since the end of 2014 which turned into an armed conflict at the beginnings of 2015 having serious implications in the daily life of the Yemeni people particularly when airstrikes began to be continuous since March 2015. Given this situation most of the planned activities for 2015 had to be postponed. Since then the security situation in Yemen worsened and WNC’s daily work was affected. After the meeting hosted by NUFFIC in September 2015 it was decided to make all efforts to continue the project activities taking in consideration the new directions of NUFFIC and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) referring to a context of post conflict, reconciliation and reconstruction.
Given the current environment particularly the uncertain political scenario, WNC’s position in Yemen is changing. Keeping in mind the project’s main objective of strengthening WNC’s capacities to mainstream gender in the government of the Republic of Yemen WNC’s activities in the project were re-directed towards a more humanitarian approach. Thus during 2016 WNC has been using the project resources to build their capacity on humanitarian aid and policy making, project proposals writing and networking. This in order to build WNC as a stronger organization advocating for women’s rights in conflict considering the differential impact conflict has on women and men.
Main results in 2016 – 2017:
- WNC has been building their knowledge and capacity on humanitarian aid focusing on ways to use their mandate to contribute to support the work done by humanitarian agencies in Yemen. The main purpose is to ensure that the role of women in conflict is considered in all interventions both at the government level as at the aid level. WNC has the capacity to support this work but given their background they lack the necessary knowledge and skills to work in a humanitarian emergency situation like the one they were living under these past years were the airstrikes had destroyed all main health, education and water and sanitation facilities and the impact of conflict was severely affecting women.
- Given the notorious impact conflict was having at all levels in the 4 areas of focus on WNC project it was evident that the findings of the research studies conducted in 2014 have changed dramatically. Thus KIT and WNC agreed on conducting a mapping study to assess the situation in these areas from a gender perspective. The study report will be ready in January 2017.
- In December 2016 the partial findings of the mapping study were shared in Jordan with a number of key stakeholders in Yemen and in the Netherlands. All stated their commitment to continue supporting WNC efforts in protecting and promoting the rights of women in conflict and manifested great interest in the final report of the mapping study. The study will be widely disseminated in the beginning of 2017.
- The aim is to analyze the results of both the research studies and mapping study to come up with strategies for WNC to continue mainstreaming gender by actively engaging with humanitarian agencies and the government supporting their efforts with real information that ensures that all interventions and policies integrate a gender approach that takes into account the differential impact conflict has on women and men.
- At the organizational level WNC is implementing a media campaign and has continued receiving training on key areas that allowed them to develop a stronger organization in terms of advocacy and visibility both at the national and international level. The objective is for WNC to be recognized nationally and internationally as a lead organization in promoting and protecting women’s rights and gender equity at all times including in times of unrest and internal conflict.