Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact
• Expansion of the forum to 5 governorates allows women from diverse regions to network with one another, share resources and mobilize around common issues. Forum members have conducted site visits to other regions to share best practices/challenges. There are currently 144 active forum members. In addition to 13 male members who requested after attending some of the forum activities.
Employability and Entrepreneurship
• Provides women with opportunities to participate in supplemental trainings and employment workshops that increase their employability and ability to financially support themselves.
• Forum developed employment database connects potential employers with forum members. By keeping personal information private, the database ensures that women are selected for jobs based upon their qualifications and not their caste, religion or family name. To date over 160 women have secured jobs or internship opportunities.
• Over 15 forum members have started their own businesses
• Forum members have launched awareness sessions on topics such as HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, problems with early marriage and Breast Cancer. Sessions are often directed at people in rural areas who have little or no knowledge of these topics.
• Forum members have reached well over 3,000 community members and students through outreach sessions and visits to local schools.
• The forum is currently conducting the first ever blogging competition for Yemeni women.
• Increased participation in community activities has enabled women to prove that they are vital to creating change and building the Yemeni civil society.
• Forum members’ participation in awareness and training sessions has encouraged parents to send their daughters to school as they realize education provides girls with the opportunity to actively participate in society.
Paralyzed from the waist down since birth, Huda has faced numerous challenges growing up in Yemen; a country where handicapped girls are often hidden away due to their family’s shame and the social stigma’s attached to their disability. This seemingly insurmountable obstacle has not stopped Huda. Through her participation in the Women in Technology Forum, she has gained valuable computer and professional skills and now teaches and mentors other disabled women. Huda believes her experience has empowered her to reach out the world and inspire other women.
Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing
• Lack of safe space for women to gather and mobilize
• Existing view of women in Yemeni society and social norms
• Lack of a support structure and resources for professional women
• Lack of job/internship opportunities
• Lack of resources to learn IT skills, professional development skills and take supplemental computer trainings
• Lack of understanding of the importance of volunteerism and community involvement
Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. What might prevent that success?
• Giving the women ownership of the forum – investing in the forum vision
• Increased membership
• Connecting local women’s networks through exchanges
• Launching new initiatives such as the Blogging competition
• Conducting outreach to the public and private sectors to gain support and create partnerships
• Establishing relationship between the forum members and public schools through free training and awareness sessions. Thus contributing to improving students’ understanding of the importance of volunteering as well as raising their awareness on various issues such as adolescence, keys to success, proper nutrition and personal hygiene.
Obstacles to success
• Lack of funding
• Unstable political environment in Yemen and threat of violence
• Social norms and customs
Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible
Employment & Entrepreneurship
• Increased use of the employment database by the public and private sectors
• Increase in employment among female graduates
• Establish partnerships with Micro Credit institutions and increase number of loans provided to forum members
• At least 10 new businesses started
• Minimum of 20 professional skills training workshops conducted
• Establish forum chapters in 2 new governorates and recruit more staff
• Increase in mentoring relationships between private businesses and women starting their own businesses
• At least 20 new businesses started
• Increase in the number of professional development workshops and IT trainings for women in vulnerable populations
• Employment database expanded to include male and female university and vocational training graduates
• Increase accessibility to online job search tools
• Expand forum to 3 additional governorates
• Increase forum membership fees to generate income for the forum
• Establish income generating activities to build capacity and increase sustainability
• Improved access to loans for forum members
Community Development & Civil Society Building
• Expanded partnerships with public schools and training institutes
• Increase in community outreach activities
• Increased community understanding and support of the forum’s work
• Expansion of activities to new communities
• Introduction of literacy classes for women
• Modify activities based upon the needs of the targeted communities
• Positive promotion of the forum among targeted communities
• Change in the social attitude towards girls participating in civic activities
• Increased circulation of newsletters to increase awareness on issues of concern such as women’s rights, girls education and negative impacts of early marriage
• 20 private sector companies supporting the forum through in kind and monetary donations
• Partnerships created with literacy education department and expansion of literacy classes to more communities
• Official recognition of all awareness sessions by the Ministry of Education
• Considerable change in the social attitudes toward women’s’ work on civic issues
• Improved self-confidence and ability to tackle negative social norms for Yemeni women
• Increased participation of women in volunteer work
If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?
An impact on public policy is a side effect of many forum activities, especially civil society building activities. Through their efforts, the women are working to change attitudes and create change in Yemen from the bottom up. For example, the Forum branch in Hadramout lobbied for and received official Accreditation from the Ministry of Education to conduct workshops in public high schools. Likewise, the forum branch in Hodiedah is conducting awareness session on discrimination against HIV patients, a very taboo subject, especially among women. The forum chapter in Yareem visited households that have disabled children to inform them of the services available to their children. This knowledge contributed to changing the parents’ attitudes toward their handicapped kids as they started to allow them to go to training and to realize they do not have to feel ashamed of their disability.