My article on hunger and poverty in Yemen discusses one aspect of the road to peace in the Middle Eastern country. Another is being undertaken by the charity Mercy Corps. With USAID funding, Mercy Corps is running an initiative, Engaging Youth for a Stable Yemen.
Yemen is plagued by conflict in the north, a secessionist movement in the south, Al-Qaeda, hunger, poverty, high unemployment and lack of educational opportunities. These are a recipe for hopelessness and disaster for the country's youth. Under such harsh conditions, youth can easily fall into the abyss of despair.
Mercy Corps says, "if young people are more constructively engaged within their communities, then they will be less vulnerable to the negative influence of violent and extremist groups."
Mercy Corps wants to engage the youth of Yemen and get them to believe that they can change their country for the better, one community at a time.
Mercy Corps plans to build dialogue among communities, youth and the government. The idea is to discuss causes of violence, how to resolve differences peacefully and identify development priorities.
As part of this program, young people will be trained to hold "Action Events” to raise awareness about local issues. It's about getting young people to think of new ways to cope with the problems of their society. The program also connects young people with mentors in the community. This will lead to internships and apprenticeships to develop career skills.
The Youth Leadership Development Foundation will be partnering wth Mercy Corps in carrying out these programs. Together, they can play a vital role on building the road to peace in Yemen.