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Localization in practice, an example from Yemen

ZOA has been working with local partners since the start of its programme. We strongly believe in the importance of empowering people and the organisations that represent them. ZOA therefore actively seeks collaboration with local organisations that take a legitimate position and role in representing people affected by conflict or natural disaster and in improving their situation.

Empowering Youth and CSO's

Yemen is Able! 

Localization of aid can happen in multiple ways. In Yemen, ZOA is pro-actively engaged in various localization efforts. One of those examples is the Yemen is Able! project, implemented in the north of the country. ZOA works with a local partner, Responsiveness for Relief and Development Foundation (RRD) on empowering youth and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

The conflict in Yemen has lasted for years, leaving socio-economic life underdeveloped. RRD and ZOA noted two things:

  1. Civil society organisations have always played a key role both in recovery and in peace building in Yemen.
  2. There is an opportunity for youth and women to participate in peace-building processes and rebuilding their societies, as they represent the largest and most important groups in society.

Based on these two findings, RRD and ZOA created a two-year programme to support both CSOs and youth to contribute to development in Yemen. Multiple activities are organized. This includes trainings of CSOs and a competitive grant-programme for youth. The grant programme and further coaching leads the youth to set-up of micro-businesses.

RRD and ZOA manage the project jointly. Bereket Godifay is the Manager of Programme Quality for ZOA Yemen and in his role collaborates a lot with RRD:

“Responsiveness for Relief and Development Foundation (RRD) actively strives to increase the capacity of other CSOs in Yemen. While working with local partners is one step in implementing the localization agenda, it is beneficial to see the topic of CSO capacity building brought up by a national NGO.” 

Bereket Godifay

Waleed Al-Khayat is the Programme Manager for RRD. He agrees with Bereket, adding:

“As a national NGO, RRD believes in the importance of promoting the role of local actors, with the goal of increasing the reach, effectiveness and accountability of humanitarian action, particularly in the most affected communities. This project is considered a first and important step towards achieving this goal.”

Waleed Al-Khayat

The project is currently halfway and the initial results are promising. In the devastated current Yemen context, the work of the CSOs and the enthusiastic youth provide signs of hope for a better future.

About the project

The "Yemen is Able!" project aims to empower Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Yemen to act as agents of development and peace. This is done by increasing Yemeni local CSO advocacy for peaceful communities and strengthening CSOs capacity to provide quality and relevant services. The project also aims to increase Yemeni youth capacity to play roles in the construction of secure and peaceful societies by providing them with social and financial skills, as well as the ability to structurally act as peacemakers and problem solvers in their communities through the use of a right-based and conflict-sensitive approach.

The project is implemented by ZOA and national partner Responsiveness for Relief and Development Foundation (RRD) The project is funded by the European Union (EU).