Raya, an Advocate for Women in Crisis
“I have always believed that the conflict should strengthen the role of women instead of undermining it, especially since women are the most affected by the conflict.”
Since March 2015, Yemen conflict has worsened the situation of women leaving them most vulnerable to incidents of gender-based violence. As of October 2016, an estimated 52% of internally-displaced persons were women with approximately 30% of households in some areas female headed. Although Yemeni women are the most affected by the steep declines in living conditions and service availability due to the conflict, their access to community participation is still limited.
Highlights from story
- Around 50% of IDPs are Women as of October 2016
- Almost 30% of households in some areas are female headed
Raya Al-Ansi, a young woman in her 20s, has been dreaming of becoming a women advocate during the ongoing conflict in Yemen.
"I wanted to contribute to alleviating the suffering of my people. Women are most familiar with the family needs, especially when they take responsibility in the absence of men. They are the foundation of the family and are closer to children. They must be relied on in all emergency projects," said Raya.
Raya went on to say, “I decided to conduct several studies on women protection affected by the conflict. The studies included implementation plans, but still, I felt that I haven't provided a tangible thing."
Raya was one of many women community researchers trained to carry out field visits to identify the needs of local communities, women's needs in particular, and help prioritize them and report such needs to suggest the type and number of needed projects within the target areas.
"This course was of a great benefit to us. We have acquired new field skills in multiple areas, mainly how to identify and monitor community needs in areas where the project operates," said Raya enthusiastically.
Raya says that monitoring is not a hard work for women but it may be difficult in terms of community acceptance.
"The community acceptance varies from a community into another based on the level of awareness and education," said Raya. She went on to say, "People's view of women's work in community monitoring encourages or discourages women. However, women are capable of doing whatever they want."
"Acceptance of the community for women's work in monitoring the community needs or any other fields depends on the presence and participation of women in a large number of projects." Eng. Shafiqa Mohammed Ali, the Gender Specialist of Public Works Project (PWP).
"The 50% participation of women gives a new experience in working with the community. Raising awareness about the problems that face the community during the current crisis is a major task of the project, the most prominent of which was raising awareness about cholera in all target areas," said Shafiqa.
Funded by the World Bank, UNDP has partnered with the Public Works Project (PWP) to implement Yemen Emergency Crisis Response Project (YECRP) across Yemen. Through YECRP, PWP has drawn attention to the needs of women and required 50% participation of women, both as researchers to monitor social needs in the geographical areas where they work and as participants.