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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

Rural Associations in the Region of Hugariyya (abstract)

Basim al‑Hagg et Maggy Grabundzija

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Texte intégral

1The authors present a study of six rural associations from the district of Hugariyya near Taez. This district was chosen because it already has a history of cooperative development which dates back to the 1960’s. The area has a strong tradition of mutual aid and volunteer work. The population voluntarily provides financial support for charity or development projects, including road building, constructions of schools and hospitals. Moreover, the people are interested in public life, culture and politics. This district took an active part in the revolution of the 26th of September.

2The six associations were chosen in order to investigate how they would participate in the development of civil society and, finally, how they could influence the evolution of the concept of associative work (the name of each association is followed by the date of its establishment).

  • The charitable association of Sharjab (1988)

  • The social charitable association of Dhabhān (1993)

  • The association of al‑Aghābira and al‑‘Arūq (1999).

  • The association for social and charitable development of Damlū‘at al‑Salū (1999)

  • The mutual aid fund for young people in Sāhira-Nashama

  • The mutual aid fund for young people in Qahfa-Nashama

3The first survey of the data concerning these associations indicated the following tendencies:

4Statistically, a very important increase of the number of associations was witnessed, especially after 1975.

5Some associations were preceded by clubs; this clearly shows the continuity of social and civil activity starting at least from the 1950’s.

6It is worth noting that the activity of a number of associations was suspended during the Revolution and the period immediately following it, despite their having been active before the Revolution. Some of them had even collaborated with the government of the Imām. This is especially the case with al‑Aghābira.

7Unlike the 1930’s and 1950’s, when any associative act was highly politicized in the nationalistic sense, today, the work is mostly carried out locally. One may ask whether this fact does not indicate a certain regression of social and moral levels. Nowadays, the principal motive of creating associations is financial; therefore the increase of their number is not a reliable sign of the development of a civil society.

8Some associations carry out numerous activities which should have been performed by the government: this clearly indicates the insufficient participation of the state in this district.

9Some associations, like the last two mentioned above, refuse any official registration. First of all, this is the case of very young associations which, despite their limited resources, have accomplished numerous projects, particularly in the domain of helping young people to continue with their education. Their refusal to register officially seems to be caused primarily by their apprehension of over-politicization which is systematically associated with such registration.

10These associations, with their charitable and religious aspects, still appear in very traditional forms. On the other hand, their internal functioning (elections within the association, association status, etc.) presents an important coefficient of modernity. However, they still remain fragile because they depend mostly on private donations and not on external support. Their offices are poorly supplied and do not possess necessary technical facilities to present their projects properly to foreign depositors.

11As for the State, it supports them very little, which can be explained by the fact that they are ‘too’ active or ‘too’ engaged (some of them also work on Human Rights issues, while other ones are centered around some members of the parties in opposition).

12Though this study is just a beginning, it nevertheless shows that these associations contribute to a certain extent and each in its own way to the democratic development of Yemen.

Les associations dans la région de la Hugariyya

Les associations dans la région de la Hugariyya

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Titre Les associations dans la région de la Hugariyya
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© Centre français de recherche de la péninsule Arabique, 2008

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