Yemeni women leaders strengthen their mediation skills

Published on Tuesday, 20th of July 2021

CMI has been collaborating with a group of Yemeni women actors across various networks, geographic areas, and constituencies to further boost peacemaking efforts in Yemen.

In 2019, Yemeni women actors convened in Addis Ababa.

Although largely absent from formal negotiations and decision-making positions, many individual women and women’s organisations have a strong track record in leading initiatives for dialogue and peace at a community level, and opening corridors for humanitarian aid.

In early 2021, CMI organised a virtual mediation training for Yemeni women leaders. In this workshop, the participants expressed interest in further support for inclusive mediation and stressed the need for further experience-sharing and more tailored, practical support for their work.

To respond to this request, CMI held several learning labs for the women leaders throughout the spring. These gave the women a platform to learn from one another, strengthen their reflective practice, and share experiences and concrete tools on local dialogue work. Learning labs allowed the participants to reflect and re-think their mediation efforts while receiving targeted support for addressing possible challenges or seizing identified opportunities in their work.

In one of the learning labs, the participants discussed what kind of mediators they are and shared their mediation and negotiation experiences in Yemen. Many of the women had faced challenges and difficult situations during negotiations. “We had to keep our self-control when one of the sides tried to provoke us,” said one of the participants. “These kinds of situations have helped me to improve my self-control and maintain my impartiality during mediation.”

Overall, the participants found the skills they practiced helpful and were keen on utilising them in their work. In particular, the participants welcomed the personal experiences of the facilitators. Many also enjoyed the self-reflective mediator part of the exercise. They said they looked forward to further experience-sharing with representatives from other conflict contexts and more practice-based training in implementing the learned skills.

CMI is currently identifying opportunities to convene for a meeting to continue the discussion and to practice further the skills learned in the learning labs.