Yemen has become a fertile breeding ground for extremist ideologies. This can lead to acts of violent extremism, especially when the youth faces hopelessness and desperation. The weak control of the state allows the influence of such organisations to spread. Both the Yemeni government and international organisations have achieved only very moderate success in creating effective strategies and programmes for preventing violent extremism (PVE).
On 14 December 2011, Women without Borders (WwB) hosted a roundtable discussion at the Austrian National Bank in Vienna with Yemeni experts Dr. Bilqis Jubari and Dr. Mohammed Al Maitami. Addressing the theme ‘Yemen: Economic and Social Challenges Ahead’, Dr. Al Maitami and Dr. Jubari lead an insightful and engaging discussion with a range of Austrian experts on the economic, social, and political challenges Yemen will face in the near term. Stabilising Yemen is crucial to regional and international security, as the country is located in a particularly volatile region. Innovative economic and development projects are urgently needed to ensure that progress towards democracy can be made. Moreover, the young women and men at the forefront of Yemen’s peaceful protests for change must be represented in the process of transition.
WwB provided strategic advice to Yemeni community stakeholders in the process of setting up the country’s first extremism prevention hotline. This pioneering ‘STOP Violence’ hotline—a part of WwB’s Sisters Against Violence Extremism (SAVE) network of projects—contributed to eroding the silence around the taboo topics of violent extremism, mental health, and gender-based violence. It initiated a discourse around difficult subjects while affording callers from all socio-economic backgrounds and parts of Yemen the opportunity to receive otherwise widely unavailable or inaccessible support.