Strengthening the role of Women in peace building through natural resources management in Yemen

Jul 2019

“Saeedah” is a prolific water pond in Bait Radam village located in Bani Mater district, Sanaa governorate in Yemen. Since time immemorial, the pond has been the primary sources of water for the district’s residents. However, due to lack of proper maintenance, successive rain failures, and unauthorized diversions, the water began to dry up. With few other viable options for water available, tensions arose, leading to conflicts. In the past 200 years, several disputes over the ponds resources have emerged with no long term solutions.

In 2018, FAO and Shehab Asfal Water users’ Association teamed up with the local community to help resolve this protracted conflict. Of particular concern were the gender-specific challenges that emerged as women were found to shoulder an enormous burden of the conflict and water scarcity. For the first time in the villages’ history, women were active participants in the meetings with Sheikhs and proposed gender-specific solutions. Through cash for work programmes to rehabilitate water infrastructure, as well as training in water resource management, the pond, is once again flourishing. The community leaders have been trained in conflict resolution mechanism to help resolve any emerging tensions. The capacitated Water Users’ Associations now also have at least a 30 percent representation at the Board of Directors level.