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Yemeni women apply mediation and dialogue skills

Published on Friday, 17 December 2021

As a continuation to the series of Learning Labs held earlier this year, CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation convened a workshop for Yemeni women, focusing on applying mediation and dialogue skills to local initiatives in Yemen and envisioning future joint action. 

Participants of the workshop held in Amman, Jordan.

A workshop involving Yemeni women peace and mediation actors was held in Amman, Jordan in early December. The event brought together 13 women from different governorates in Yemen, including from Aden, Taiz, Sanaa and Shabwa. All the participants are currently leading peace initiatives and mediation efforts in their local communities.

The participants applied previously learned skills to the context of their own work by mapping the central dynamics and issues in the conflict in Yemen. After selecting a specific challenge to focus on, they analysed the different actors involved, and worked out an appropriate role and approach to that particular dynamic. The participants chose to focus on the issue of militias and the payment of salaries for further assessment. This allowed the participants to design processes tailored to their respective governorates.

The second part of the workshop was dedicated to a vision building exercise, where the participants began laying the groundwork for a common vision for Yemen. There was broad agreement among them that the future Yemeni state should be democratic, inclusive and peaceful, and built on political and civic key principles, such as the rule of law.

The roadmap to achieve this would include various security, political and economic initiatives, and would support the efforts of the UN-led peace process. These initial steps towards establishing peace creates a basis for CMI’s continuing work in Yemen.

Inclusion of civil society paves the way for more democratic societies

The situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate, with devastating consequences for civil society, in addition to the population as a whole. The conflict is halting the country’s human development. To respond to the deeply rooted issues through a single approach would be to largely ignore the fragmented and complex nature of the problems.

The inclusion of civil society representatives, in particular women, in peace processes paves the way for more democratic and just societies.  Although largely absent from formal negotiations, many individual women and women’s organisations have a track record in leading dialogue and peace initiatives at community level in Yemen.

Yemeni women have repeatedly demonstrated their integral role as peace mediators and political negotiators, as part of informal initiatives, including campaigning for safe humanitarian corridors and access in urban areas, negotiating prison exchanges and combating recruitment of children in armed conflict. CMI has been working with a group of women representing various local and sub-governorate networks in order to harness this peace mediation potential.