The first post in the EWAMT blog was about the “Ignorance of Blogging in Yemen” that was true in 2009 at the beginning of implementing EWAMT project” Empowerin Women Activists in Media techniques“. However, blogging now become more popular in Yemen. We won’t say it is because of our initiative, but also because of many other youths who spread these techniques. Some of these youth were trainees in one of our EWAMT session. Now I can say that who does not have a blog at least he\she knows what does it mean. Here, I will talk about our journey with EWAMT to spread the notion of blogging to 200 Young Yemeni ladies. Here, we are finalizing our Project with bride of what we have done as team, and with appreciation to Rising Voices for giving us the opportunity.
We still remember our first training in 2oth May,2009, and how hard to organize the poster, Brochures, Coffee Breaks, folders with notes, looking for lap with cheap rent …etc. Always the first step is hard to make, but once we stepped we felt enthusiastic to finish our mission. Then we received many letters from local NGOs nominating their female employees to the blogging workshops.
EWAMT conducted a workshop in Taiz city too in partnership with the National Culture Center for Youth. Taiz city is 225 km away from the capital, Sana’a. It is very known in Yemen as the Dreamer city, and it is the Yemeni revolution started there, so it is known now the revolutionary city.
I participated in training organized by NDI in July, 2011 about “Good Citizen Journalistic Practices“. In this training we came out with the most important ethics that any citizen media activist or blogger should have it. I have transmitted this knowledge to my trainees later.
Another fact from life that no success without obstacles or challenges. We went through many critical challenges that made us very frustrated. One of the most overwhelming obstacles was the electricity cutting, and slow speed on Internet connectivity. In addition, we could not rent another lab has a generator because it was too expensive for us. So we sticked to the lab we had rented before at the begining of the project from All Girls Society for Development, but because of the electricity problem we had to delayed part of our workshop so many times. The second challenge was for me as the runner of the project. We were implementing EWAMT project under the umberalla of Hand in Hand initiative. This initiative broke apart, and I founded another team and initiative called Kefiaia, which means in Arabic “Enough” .
EWAMT workshops were not only about technical issues of blogging, but also were about exploring, discussing, and raising awareness about issues had being rarely talked about it in the public sphere because of the conservity of the Yemeni society, and sometimes because of the fear from the Yemeni intelligence would arrest anyone who expresses his\her discontent about the Yemeni regime.
The Yemeni revolution started on February 2011, and it was not a surprise for us. Most of the people were enraged about the Yemeni government, and when Tunisia started the revolution series, it encouraged the Yemenis to break the silence and demonstrate peacefully. Most of the Yemenis are very well armed (Yemen’s weapons Culture), but they left their weapons at homes and went to demonstrate; approved to the whole world their pacifism. The revolution has two sides of effects. The Positive side that it heightened awareness among people politically and socially. Moreover, It gave us hope that one day we will see a new, developed Yemen.In the level of EWAMT project, many of women blogged about the revolution from their perspective. The negative side that a lot of people lost their jobs because many foreign organizations and companies left Yemen due to the continuous threating of the yemeni regime to drag the country into civil war. Furthermore, as kind of punishment the Yemeni government had cutted the electricity for 23 hours a day, so we had only one hour to charge our electronical devises, and do the essential work. In this situation it was almost impossible to finish training the last 20 ladies.
The revolution lasted for more than 10 months and still going on. During all that time we severely suffered from shortage of electricity,water, and fuel. We stopped EWAMT workshops for many months, and then we got a solution how to finish our work under these hardships. We bought two additional batteries for laptobs, and two internet USP. Once a week I was training two women in my house by using the laptops and the internet USPs,or sometimes we went to cafes that have generators, and internet connectivity. Each week or sometimes each two weeks we train from two to three ladies. in this way we finished out ultimate goal to train 200 Yemeni ladies in blogging.