Equal Access International's RIGHTS Initiative is dedicated to educating Yemeni youth about their legal rights, providing a forum to express their views and empowering them with the tools, knowledge and encouragement to become engaged, active citizens. With 40% of RIGHTS Initiative's beneficiaries comprised of young women, RIGHTS provides critical awareness and education of women's rights throughout training content and activities, which include community forums and radio and documentary series.
Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, with youth comprising more than 50% of the country. This is a time of great transition in Yemen - and potential opportunity - with the 2014 Presidential election and National Dialogue Conference (NDC). It is, therefore, crucial at this time that Yemeni youth are educated and empowered to participate in the national discourse and help share the future direction of their country.
The RIGHTS Initiative will ensure youth civic participation through youth leadership trainings, media (including national radio programs and video documentaries), listening groups and roundtable forums covering a range of legal rights and issues, such as human and civil rights, early marriage, education, and racial discrimination. This will allow youth to confidently and actively participate, take ownership and defend their rights for a more representational government.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Educating Yemeni youth about their legal rights and the importance of civic participation, while equipping them with the skills and confidence to defend their rights, will help to create transparency and accountability within their country. This increase in civic participation will not only benefit the current generation, it will also help to inspire future generations.