A New Generation of Women Leaders in Conflict Resolution
Katiba, a young woman who lives in a remote rural area called Bani Usef, Far’ Alodeen district, Ibb governorate. People of Bani Usef faced many major conflicts that have been obstructing the development in health and education for many years.
For three years, people of Bani Usef sub-district and the Health Office branch directorate in Fara’a al Odain district had a conflict which has led to closure of the local clinic resulting in more than 2500 people being denied of primary health care. The health office wanted to replace the health centre’s female manager but the community objected. As a result the Health Office stopped all health facilities and the operational costs.
- Conflicts have been obstructing the development in health and education for many years
- More than 2500 people were denied of primary health care as a result of Conflict in Bani Usef leads to closure of the local clinic
- Katiba has become the first female chairperson of the Community Development Committee, and she personally led delegations to resolve this longstanding conflict in her local community
- Since five years, students in Bani Usef sub-district were forced to study in the open air due to lack of space
In March 2012, Katiba and other participants from her district participated in the Conflict Reduction Training Course organized by UNDP project “Integrated Social Cohesion and Development”, and she has become the first female chairperson of the Community Development Committee (CDC), and she personally led delegations to resolve this longstanding conflict in her local community.
“Through our mediation a resolution was agreed as follows: health office should have the freedom to appoint staffs according to the health office criteria; but the health office committed to upgrade the health center, provide new equipment and ensure that the health staffs are fully trained and efficient. This agreement was implemented without any cost during March 2013. You can imagine what a huge impact we achieved, especially for women in the area.” Katiba said.
Katiba also led to resolve another longstanding conflict that affected the education in her area. Since five years, students in Bani Usef sub-district were forced to study in the open air due to lack of space. The school parents’ council had been trying to convince the local Sheikh to allow building of two extra classrooms on his private land in compensation he was offered other land but in an area with a lower land value, but he refused.
Katiba – and with support of all CDC members – gather all related persons including the school management, school parent council, and even students to visit the Shaikh and present to him a comprehensive solution where in return of the Sheikh acceptance for the alternative land, he will be officially acknowledged that the land on which the school rooms were to be built were a contribution from the Sheikh which mean that he would be seen as a social benefactor and gain local status for his generosity.
The parents would pay 24% of the cost of the two new classrooms. This money had already been collected and was brought as evidence of commitment to the meeting. The CDC would coordinate with the local council and UNDP to allocate the rest of the cost (42% local council and 34% UNDP).
She said, “This solution was agreed and we started the work on building the classrooms since June 2013.”
Showing for the first time her personal pride Katiba concluded, “Finally I would like to say that my family has become very proud of me. They now believe that they can depend on me. They keep saying that orphan whose father died while she was very young is now an important person.”
She added, “Another thing that really boosted my confidence and pride is when I was invited to attend the Social Cohesion Project board meeting in Sana’a. It was a great feeling when I met many new figures and discussed with them the issues and conflicts in my district.” She added, “I have learned a lot; I learned how to analyze conflicts, how to mediate to settle down a conflict, I learned to be patient, neutral and many other things.”