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Société civile, associations et pouvoir local au Yémen

Sarah Ben Nefissa
Maggy Grabundzija
Jean Lambert

Chapter 2: Civil Society and Social Changes

Youth and Civil Society (abstract)

Intilaq al‑Mutawakkil

Entrées d'index

Keywords :

youth, association

Texte intégral

1The revolution of 1962 has produced important political, economic, social and cultural changes in Yemen. Nevertheless, numerous obstacles, especially incessant internal conflicts, have impeded associative experience. Thus, the municipal and local councils were inactive and under the control of the state until the time of the Reunification.

2Since the Reunification of Yemen, with the liberalization of political parties, birth of human rights organizations, unions, charitable organizations and cooperatives, one equally witnesses the emergence of youth associations. However, the young people, who have often finished secondary or university education, are particularly affected by unemployment.

3The UNDP defines the category of young as ‘being 15-24 years old’, whereas the Yemen Ministry of Youth and Sports sticks to the ‘18-30 year old’ definition, to which most of the Yemeni jurists agree. The Yemeni Association for Family Planning gives a still vaguer definition, claiming that the minimum age limit is ‘puberty’.

4In 2000, in the Arab World, young people constituted 58 million out of 300 million of the total population. In Yemen, they form up to 48 % of the population, out of which only 7.55 % are active.

5In the field of education, the percentage of girls remains low. The number of students in the countryside is by far inferior to that of the cities; the number of children not attending school reaches 38.4 %, 22.8 % for boys and 56 % for girls. About 43 % leave school before college.

6In the field of public health services, there are no programs for birth control and HIV prevention.

7In the field of economy, only 20 % of young people have received training.

8In the realm of politics, young people, despite their representing the overwhelming majority of the electorate, have no faith in political actions or in democracy, and feel a serious intellectual vacuum.

9After mentioning the Youth organizations which are linked to the state, such as the Scout movement and the movements linked to the political parties or subsidized by them, like the Yemeni Students Union, the author examines a number of associations. Some of these are classified as ‘independent’ while the other ones are classified as ‘supported from abroad’: the Center of Youth Development in Taez, the association of the Electronic Association in Taez, the Organization of the Development of Young Leaders in Sanaa (of which the author is president), and the association Long Live Youth, which is distinguished by its refusal of official registration.

10The author also examines the group Sunnā‘ al‑Hayāt (the Masters of their Lives), inspired by the modernist religious preacher ‘Amr Khālid from Egypt. Finally, it seems that young people have no privileged relationship with the tribal structure, which is no doubt too conservative to offer them their due place, with the exception of sports associations, which are to some extent sustained by certain shaykhs.

11To sum up, the Youth organizations are more and more solicited.

12The attempts to instrumentalize the associations on behalf of the parties, and especially of the party in power, as well as on behalf of the security apparatus which wants to control them despite the existence of a chart of good behavior in this domain.

13The lack of financial resources which is still graver for the young people than for other age groups. The Youth organizations must therefore rely on self-financing.

14Certainly, financing from outside is hard to obtain for youth organizations which generally do not have enough experience, and which are sometimes not very well adapted. However, the fact that these external participants may not have necessarily the same priorities as those defined by the state, should not cast them off.

15Young women seem to participate more actively in youth organizations, which is a good sign for the future of Yemen.

© Centre français de recherche de la péninsule Arabique, 2008

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