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Empowerment of Women Activists in Media Techniques – Yemen

Joined Rising Voices in March 2009

Summary

Slow internet connectivity, electricity blackouts, and an uncertain time in Yemen's history were all major obstacles faced by the Rising Voices grantee project Empowering Women Activists in Media Technique (EWAMT). However, due to the resilience and commitment demonstrated by the project coordinator Ghaida'a al-Absi and her team, the project reached its ultimate goal of training 200 Yemeni women in the use of citizen media as a way to express themselves and become part of the online conversation. A special emphasis was placed on discussions about the role of women and their rights throughout the country. For many women, taking part in workshops like those offered by EWAMT was a new experience, and sometimes they had to break down some stereotypical expectations placed on them by the rest of society.

Ghaida'a al-Absi leading a workshop

Selected in March 2009, the project went through various phases and partnerships in order to find the right fit in the context of the Yemeni online space. The project started as part of a partnership with the All Girls Society for Development under the umbrella of the Hand in Hand Initiative, but due to some organizational changes, the EWAMT project became part of Kefiaia Initiative, which means “enough” in Arabic.

When the political and social crises started in February 2011, many aspects of the project were put on hold because of the increased electricity blackouts, as well as the uncertainty that led to economic hardships. However, the project pushed forward and found other ways to provide training. Sometimes Ghaida'a and her team provided individual workshops meeting with women at local cafes and using a USB mobile internet modem for access.

Some of the workshop participants

This training and ongoing support was only one part of Ghaida'a's commitment to helping Yemeni women find their voice in matters important to them. She also started a parallel project called Safe Streets that helped map instances of sexual harassment Yemen, as well as providing a space for creative outlets to discuss this all too common problem in the country.

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