YPC News   •   October 7, 2013

On October 7, 2013, the Youth Lobby Group Sanaa, established by  YPC in the framework of its Parliament Watch project met with Human Rights Watch researcher Belkis Wille to learn about and to discuss human rights issues in Yemen. HRW’s latest report focused on freedom of expression in Yemen, especially the attacks and threats against journalists. As the transitional government tried to lay special emphasis on this issue, HRW is now pushing for a change of the situation through raising awareness. Objectivity in media is viewed as most essential for Yemen’s future and now it is the best time to address the lack of freedom of expression. Further discussions were concerned with a ban on child marriage, strategies of advocacy, as well as benefits of cooperation between international advocacy organizations and local lobby groups.

In the framework of its MEPI funded Yemen Parliament Watch project, in July 2013, the Yemen Polling Center supported the establishment of a Youth Lobby Group for Parliament. The group is based in Sana’a, and is the first of its kind in Yemen. The 22 members of the youth group were selected from among more than 100 politically active applicants. All members are between the age of 24 and 34 and hold university degrees, mainly in the fields of political science, law and media.

The aim of the project is to build the youth group’s capacities to raise awareness about Parliament in public and to positively impact the legislative process. By fulfilling these functions the group is to act as a channel between Parliament and Yemeni youths. In order to achieve this goal, the group has received training on the structure and legislative procedures of the Yemeni Parliament, Parliamentary petitions, advocacy, networking and social media.

In September, the Youth Lobby Group received further training in project cycle and management, how to write funding proposals, how to monitor government policies, how to negotiate with project partners, and communication skills. These training sessions will be followed up with a visit to the Yemeni Parliament as well as networking events with members of parliament and journalists focusing on reporting on parliament. Currently, the youth group is visiting various national and international organizations, which work in the development field and support youth in politics.

In September, the Youth Lobby Group visited the UNDP where they discussed the structure and goals of the UNDP as well as their projects for young people in Yemen. The Yemeni Youth Observatory is part of the program to support the transitional phase in Yemen, enabling youth participants in the National Dialogue to assess and address the situation of young people in Yemen and evaluate the impacts of political and legislative measures implemented. Another project the Youth Lobby Group was introduced to was the Youth Economic Empowerment Project, which aims at enhancing the employment situation of young Yemenis by providing them with skills and opportunities to engage in private sector enterprises.

In future, with the support of YPC, the Youth Lobby Group is to implement projects with the goal of strengthening Parliament-citizen relations, as well as facilitating and supporting the establishment of youth lobby groups in other cities.