Six years of relentless war in Yemen have devastated the country and left an estimated 100,000 people dead, 12,000 of them civilians. Yemen is facing the world’s worst development and humanitarian crisis, with 80 per cent of the population needing some form of assistance. In the face of this on-going crisis, UNESCO and RNW Media’s Manasati30 platform have launched a youth campaign calling for a ceasefire throughout Yemen.
The campaign is part of the “Empowering Yemeni youth towards peace: ensuring access to information and participation” project, which is funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF). The primary objective of the PBF funded project is to make the peace-building process more inclusive and participatory by strengthening youth engagement using media, communication and technology. UNESCO and RNW Media through the Manasati30 platform are jointly implementing the campaign, which aims to bring young people together, to play a role in shaping the future of their country and calling for a ceasefire throughout Yemen as a fundamental step towards a lasting peace.
Everyone has a right to participate in decisions that affect their lives and, recognising this, the campaign was launched on the International Day of Democracy, September 15th and will continue until the 28th of September. There is a special focus on today’s International Peace Day (September 21st), which sees the relase of the moving campaign video ‘Why peace?’ in which young Yemenis share their wartime experiences.
Another powerful video ‘War or Peace’ contrasts the reality of young men fighting with their dreams of peace.
Building peace together
Under the hashtag #EnoughWar, the campaign uses social media to put pressure on the warring parties to agree on a ceasefire. In line with the theme of this year’s International Peace Day, “building peace together”, the campaign is mobilising young people to play a role in the peace process and amplifying the voices and opinions of young women and men calling for peace. RNW Media and UNESCO launched the campaign by sharing a vox pop video in which young people share their messages to the conflict parties.
Sharing stories and opinions
An online survey, running throughout the campaign period (Sept 15th – 28th), has been launched to collect young Yemenis’ opinions on the ceasefire throughout Yemen. A video has been created to encourage participation in the survey and the results will be shared online and with relevant stakeholders as data for advocacy. Young women and men are also invited to share their stories and messages along with pictures. Daily social media posts explain how young people can participate and a number of users’ pictures are being shared every day for five consecutive days. The best photos are being combined for publication as a digital mural which will be shared widely online.
Finally, as part of the “Empowering Yemeni youth towards peace” project a “my solution” initiative has been launched. This initiative aims to promote and showcase success stories of young Yemeni peacebuilders. An open call was launched in August inviting young Yemenis to submit their “solutions” for peace in their country. Seven promising initiatives have been selected which will be announced during the campaign. More information about the activity can be found here.