Empowering Yemeni Youth to Defend Their Rights and Promote Transparency and Accountability

With youth comprising more than 50% of the population in a country where corruption is endemic and meaningful opportunities negligible, engaging young people to be active participants in their society is critical to Yemen’s stability and future governance. To combat these challenges, Equal Access has designed innovative project combining radio programming and mobilized action to educate Yemeni youth about their legal rights and build their capacity to exercise those rights effectively. This unique program design gives Yemeni youth a voice, fosters civic participation and empowers youth with the tools to facilitate positive change.

Through a youth-produced radio series, a cadre of trained youth leaders, facilitated listening discussion groups, active youth councils, awareness raising theater performances and community roundtable discussions, this initiative is helping Yemen to become a more participatory society.

This initiative, supported by the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), is empowering Yemeni youth to defend their rights and promote transparency and accountability.  By creating a generation of young people committed to the rule of law and government accountability, young reformers can affect the lives of future generations.

This program, titled the RIGHTS Initiative, includes:

 Production and Broadcast of Legal Rights and Rule of Law Radio Programs

A special series of radio episodes focused on legal rights and rule of law education has been created for our existing youth radio series “Let’s Be the Best Together”. Topics include educating youth about legal rights, inspirational examples of civic participation, a respect for the rights of others, and the role of individuals and government officials in upholding and defending those rights.

Leadership Training for Youth Leaders

Youth leaders from six governorates are being trained to organize community roundtables, facilitate listening discussion groups and lead local collective actions as well as about how to become a governorate or national level youth leader.

Youth Listening and Discussion Groups (LDG)

LDGs are being formed in six governorates across Yemen. Led by trained facilitators, these groups provide an opportunity for youth to gather with their peers and discuss the radio programs and related topics such as legal rights, the rule of law and civic engagement. Discussing how these issues impact their daily lives, these groups will also identify local actions they can take to make positive changes within their communities.

Theater Performances

The youth participating in listening and discussion group meetings are also preparing theater performances. These young Yemenis will write, direct and perform short plays about legal rights and good citizenship for a national theater competition.  By sharing and educating others youth gain experience and respect as well as solidify their knowledge of legal rights.

Community Roundtables

Trained youth leaders are designing and organizing roundtable forums within their own communities. These events will include a panel discussion and debate, bringing together community leaders, religious leaders and active youth groups to discuss important topics identified by the participants such as legal rights and accountability.

Youth Councils

Yemeni youth from six governorates are selected to represent their governorates and share their experiences, challenges, and successes with one another as well as discuss issues important to youth in Yemen. These representatives will also gather as a national council to identify critical issues effecting youth across the country and then select one key topic as a top priority. Once identified, the national youth council will collaboratively design an advocacy plan to address that challenge and implement it across all six governorates simultaneously.