A while ago we announced the launch of our newest advocacy program, the Empower Yemen initiative. This week we’re pleased to announce that Empower Yemen’s first report is now available online! Empower Yemen brings Yemeni activists and civil society leaders into the US policy-making process by connecting them with advocacy organizations and key congressional offices in Washington. For nearly a decade, the Yemen Peace Project has advanced policy solutions based on human rights, the rule of law, and the interests of the Yemeni people. Empower Yemen is the next phase of that effort.
Through this initiative, we are asking Yemeni activists and civil society leaders for their perspectives on political, economic, and humanitarian issues that are relevant to the debate on US policies toward Yemen. Our team in Washington shares the feedback we receive with all of the US-based advocacy organizations working on Yemen, and with key congressional offices. Our goal is to ensure that policymakers are well-informed with information from the ground, and that the advocacy agenda centers the concerns and interests of the Yemeni people.
For Empower Yemen’s inaugural report, civil society figures from 16 governorates across Yemen responded to questions covering a range of topics relating to the roles of various internal and external actors the ongoing war and humanitarian emergency in Yemen. The findings reveal a broad range of conflicting perspectives on the role of foreign powers in Yemen’s crisis, and a patchwork of competing forces and institutions controlling territory outside of the Houthi-dominated northwest.
Key takeaways from report #1
The divide between north and south is probably the most salient factor in Yemeni civil society’s views on the current crisis, although civil society figures in northern governorates outside of Houthi control tend to echo their southern counterparts on many topics. Accordingly, responses to our first questionnaire from Ma’rib and Ta’iz are generally closer to those received from southern respondents than northern ones, but a different pattern is certain to emerge in future questionnaires that deal directly with the political future of Yemen (and the south in particular).
Civil society figures across Yemen see the role of the United States as predominantly negative and self-interested, although many favor the continuation of some form of US support for the Saudi-led intervention.
The majority of civil society figures have a negative view of the United Nations’ efforts in Yemen, particularly the work of the Special Envoy.
Most regions of Yemen are experiencing significant suffering, and civil society figures see an end to the war as crucial to resolving the humanitarian crisis.
Civil society figures have little knowledge of, and are not fully aligned with, the advocacy agenda pursued by humanitarian and pro-peace organizations in the US.