Sana’a, August 10, 2010 — The World Bank’s Civil Society Fund awarded six Yemeni Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) financial support for civic engagement in the fight against Qat.
With the participation of Yemen’s Social Fund for Development, media, and the World Bank staff in Yemen, the winning NGOs were honored for their innovative ideas in combating the consumption of Qat in Yemen, especially among the young.
The Government’s Third Socio-Economic Development Plan for Poverty Reduction (2006-2010) stated that “The Government intends to address the Qat phenomenon in an objective, informed and gradual fashion, while striking a balance between its economic, social, health and environmental aspects”. The Government of Yemen is engaged in renewed efforts to address the Qat phenomenon and its challenges, and has signified its commitment to establish alliances with key partners including civil society and the media, the private sector and aid agencies, and asked for Bank assistance in this regard.
“For NGOs, the modest funding can go a long way in creating an environment that meets communities needs for raising awareness among students and youth of negative aspects to Qat consumption” commented Mohamed Noman, Director for Yemen Center for Human Rights Studies.
For the Bank, its efforts to reduce Qat consumption could yield a significant improvement in economic and social well-being of the Yemeni people. One of its interventions has been in the implementation of the proposed National Qat Demand Reduction Agenda Support Project which aims at improving the quality of life of the most affected and vulnerable groups (women, children and youth), low income communities and the general public.
David Craig, World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, welcomed and congratulated the winners and stressed the important role played by NGOs in the development process especially on issues such as QAT. “NGOs closeness to communities allows them to be instrumental in fighting poverty and helping communities to help themselves. The work NGOs do often complements government initiatives because of the reciprocated trust and direct relations with communities and the public at large” he said.
The total amount shared among the six winning NGOs was US$41,500. The winning ideas ranged from producing advocacy materials such as brochures, sketches, songs, posters, caricature, TV flashes and documentary films, to working with students in schools making awareness-raising as well as training youth on forming anti-Qat groups. Other activities included conducting research, organizing workshops and developing a website.
On the side lines of the award ceremony, a session was held to review the plan of activity and the allocated budgets. This exercise was intended to help all winning NGOs coordinate among themselves on their winning activities and avoid any possible duplication.
“In working together we can learn and exchange experiences and strengthen any weaknesses we have”, said Elham Abdulwahab, Director for Transparency Center for Research and Studies. This initiative was welcomed by all and an agreement was reached to have regular meetings and develop a comprehensive plan that encompasses the work of the six winning NGOs. The Grant Agreement was also read to better understand its content and respond to any requests of clarification. An Arabic version of the Agreement was also provided for ease of reference.
Mustafa Nasr, Director of the Economic Media Center, commented, “The Bank office engagements with NGOs in Yemen helped advance our work agenda and became a facilitating factor for other donor support”. “The idea of coordinating the QAT agenda among the six winning NGOs is an example of the Bank’s effort to achieve good result with less duplication and fund usage”, he added.
Created in 1983, the Civil Society Fund is one of the few global programs of the World Bank that directly funds civil society organizations. It supports activities whose primary objective is civic engagement, to strengthen the voices of diverse groups and promote the inclusion of a broad array of citizens' initiatives in development policies and processes. The Civil Society Fund is managed out of approximately 70 countries with upwards of 400 grants being awarded annually.
Since 2004 until now, the World Bank office in Sana’a supported 31 CSOs, for more than US$ 300,000, in areas of health, education, poverty reduction, economic empowerment, capacity building and Qat awareness programs.