Heated debate with strong hand gestures in one corner, excited murmuring in the other: training participants discuss the group exercise: “How would you increase the visibility of your organizations for potential donors?”. Abdullah suggests to hang a banner in the city of Al Dhalee. “Outdated!” says Fatima, another participant, “All organizations are using websites now !”
In 2020, ACTED is working in the regions of Al Dhalee and Lahj to revive civil society after years of hibernation, helping them to take the lead in defining and responding to the needs of their own communities.
Historically Yemen had a vibrant civil society, strengthened by an upsurge in youth activism during the 2011 revolution. In each region were represented at least women associations, farmers’ cooperatives, voluntary vet associations and community members engaged in the education of the children. However, the political and military upheaval in 2015 had a negative impact on the legal and operating environment for CSOs, as many of them were ransacked or closed.
In the past ACTED has been mostly engaged in Yemen through provision of assistance to individuals or families through various distributions and activities seeking to improve their living conditions. This project is special as it is the first one where ACTED is supporting civil society organization and helping them to improve their structural management and technical capacities ensuring that they can take on the role of service delivery in their communities over the longer term.
For the civil society organizations to start blooming again, ACTED organizes trainings for the members on proper management practices. By the end of 2020, the most promising will receive from a financial grant to implement a project that will benefit their target communities.
40 civil society organisations are participating in an intensive, 7-week training program that aims to improve their internal procedures and the quality of implementation, opening the door to external funding.
On the 10th of March, the members of 10 selected organizations completed the training. Before the war, these 10 organizations specialized in water infrastructure rehabilitations, organization of training courses in farming, sewing and beekeeping. They were contracted by National Authorities, International Organizations and Individuals to provide services to the local communities.
As part of these trainings the leaders of the organizations and their key employees have professionalized their approaches to recruitment, accountancy and increased their visibility with potential donors.
Following the training, the participating organizations will propose ideas for implementing projects in their communities. ACTED will evaluate the proposals and select the best ones based on a criteria which includes their potential for achieving a clear positive social outcome for a large number of people for less than 15,000 EUR. Examples could include the construction of a market for the village or the rehabilitation of a water well.
During the implementation phase of their projects, ACTED will continue to accompany the organizations and support them in the different stages of the action to ensure they are properly applying the best practices they have learnt during the training phase.
The project “Supporting the operational capacities of civil society organizations in Yemen” is implemented from January 2018 to December 2020 in Consortium with Saferworld and funded by EuropeAid.