Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East and home to 29.3 million people, has been subject to war for more than two and a half years. Thousands have been killed, and the number of internally displaced people has reached 3.1 million. 8.3 million people are completely reliant on external support for food and 10 million more are considered ‘food insecure’ by the World Food Programme. Gender roles have shifted as more men and boys have become active combatants and more women have become the head of the household and the main - if not the only - income provider for their family. This responsibility comes with further safety risks for women and is in tension with cultural barriers that are yet to be overcome in Yemen.
But war, famine and loss is not the full story of Yemen. Yemenis have shown many forms of resilience - from conducting responsive humanitarian projects to using art and cultural activities to promote tolerance and peace. How are they coping? Could the shift in gender relations be positive? And how can we help? Marwa Baabbad will highlight the untold stories of strength and resilience of Yemeni people.
Marwa Baabbad is a Yemeni researcher and Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Women, Peace and Security, with a specific interest in the current conflict and the security sector. Marwa previously worked as a development professional with Saferworld in Yemen, where she led on gender, peace and security and youth projects in Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Syria neighbouring countries. Marwa was also a member of the Youth Consultative Group for the UNDP’s 2016 Arab Human Development Report. Marwa attained a master’s degree in Post-war Recovery Studies from the University of York as a Chevening scholar.