July 17, 2014
SANA’A –The U. S. Government (USG) celebrated its ongoing assistance to Yemen’s civil society sector at an Iftar dinner to mark the holy month of Ramadan. USG assistance to Yemen’s civil society sector is delivered through the Responsive Governance Project (RGP), a five-year program sponsored by the USG’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and in coordination with the Government of Yemen.
Civil society representatives, Yemeni government officials and U.S. Embassy staff gathered at the Iftar to praise the strides Yemen’s burgeoning civil society sector has made during the past year. According to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, there are now nearly 13,000 registered civil society organizations in Yemen.
At the Iftar, USAID’s Mission Director Herbie Smith, reaffirmed the USG’s support for civil society organizations’ work as Yemen’ undergoes a political transition. Addressing the Iftar’s attendees, he said: “The civil society sector is growing rapidly in Yemen. With each new organization, there is an opportunity to develop a partnership between the state and civil society to ensure that Yemenis’ goals and aspirations are at the heart of policy decisions.” He continued: “Never before has civil society played a more important role in Yemen’s history than right now as it holds the government accountable for implementing reforms agreed upon through the transitional process.”
Through USAID funding, RGP aims to strengthen the capacity of civil society, increase citizen participation during Yemen’s political transition and work with individual government entities to plan and improve their response to public needs during and after Yemen’s transition. This year, USAID and RGP will continue to support the establishment of three civil society networks that are working to ensure that Yemenis’ voices, especially those of women and youth, are channeled to policy makers.
USAID, through RGP, has supported the efforts of more than 650 civil society organizations both directly and indirectly over the past three years to help them more effectively engage in and support the transition process. RGP will begin a new program later this year under USAID’s Women’s Peace and Security Initiative that is designed to promote women’s participation in Yemen’s political transition, consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.