Khabar Khair (Only Good News) – Ruqiya Danana

Reading public opinion, introducing the organization’s role and projects, permanent attendance, and attracting public opinion are what civil society organizations publish and aim to be close to the targets.

Recently, “civil society groups have become more technically savvy because they use social platforms, formats and social media such as video and podcasts to raise awareness of their issues”.  (www.weform.org.)

Means of Directing Public Opinion
Civil society organizations in Yemen have endeavored to conduct many research studies, opinion polls, etc. in order to reach the public opinion and direct it towards the social issues that need to be highlighted, especially those that were considered in a previous period of time as socially and culturally prohibited that cannot be talked about, and by presenting these issues on social media, it became possible to know the different opinions of the public towards them, the extent of their response and the impact they will have on, if the issues raised in the questionnaires, which are presented through social media, were adopted, which contributed to overcoming the fear barrier towards some issues and becoming acceptable to talk about.

Here, Mona Turki, the mobilization and communication officer at Manasati 30 says about the role of the platform, “My platform 30 is interested in making the voice of Yemeni youths heard through participating in a monthly questionnaire on the most important issues that concern Yemeni youth and society”.

Turki added, “The results of the questionnaire are converted into press material supported by graphs and infographics and shared with various press and media institutions in Yemen. Therefore, the content resulting from the project consists of written texts, audio files, videos, cartoons, and infographics usually produced by young people specialized in sensitive issues like peace for example. “Manasati 30” provides specialized training for its young contributors to be able to produce disciplined and impactful content”.

Turki said, “With this approach, “Manasati 30” enables young public opinion to grow and emerge, which creates an influence on decision-makers and creates opportunities for change”.

She continues, “In the field of digital activities, the project organizes events and debates that seek to provide a free platform for young people to express their views, put forward their proposals and discuss their problems loudly”.

These events and debates are taking place in cooperation with other active youth institutions and initiatives. This cooperation allows building the capabilities of the youth components, and strengthens their presence, enabling them to influence more effectively.

“Promoting societal issues is what has given priority to research and studies centers and some Yemeni platforms, especially in the current conflict period, to access content created by young people themselves”, says Mona Turki.

She asserts that “integrating young people into discussions of public affairs is a very important step to create peace-making opportunities, and this is what we are working on.”

Negotiations and Peace First…
The questionnaires presented on social media usually distinguish the dimension of what is called a political phobia. So, people who have a fear of delving into political issues find an outlet to talk about.

Turki says, “The most important issues affecting the Yemeni arena were recently raised by means of questionnaires, the most recent of which was the March questionnaire in which young people were asked about the priorities of negotiation files”.

She adds, “In the picture, the results of one of the questionnaires in which the public opinion said that: it prefers Yemeni-Yemeni negotiations without external interference. This questionnaire was attended by more than 1,200 people, and its results were published more than 10 times in local media. The results are with the responsible authorities in the local political parties, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Office”.

Between an opinion and another
Finally, the “Civil Alliance for Peace” platform raised a question that focused on the role played by the UN envoy in Yemen: “Does the UN envoy play an effective role in building peace in Yemen?” “This question provoked widespread reactions in the community on the platform on Facebook, said Abdulaziz, one of those interested in the case. “In the next few days, there will be a positive and effective role for everyone, because everyone is unanimous and convinced that the time has come to achieve peace in Yemen, and end the war, the suffering and tragedies of the Yemeni people with the support of the international community and decision makers”.

Omar Hadi, who saw that the role of the UN envoy is ineffective in Yemen, while the opinions of the latest discussions showed how the international role should be central and effective in terms of peace in Yemen, disagreed with him.

Other Intermediaries
While civil society organizations in Yemen benefit from various social media outlets regarding their civil work, they are still taking slow steps when compared to international organizations. Some relevant authorities have developed new partnerships, for example with UNICEF, to create robotic programs to communicate with youth on social media platforms. UNICEF Robot is a free tool for social monitoring (report) via SMS. It assesses how the youth feel about important issues based on responses to opinion polls and SMS alerts. (www.weform.org.)

Therefore, in order for NGOs in Yemen to achieve high performance effectiveness, the modern means with regard to social media, especially in issues related to youth, must be attracted.

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Tamara Boulos

Tamara Boulos

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