FEATURE | 4 May 2021
Supporting community safety-driven approaches in Yemen
Take a look inside our project working to improve public safety in Yemen.
In 2018, the Berghof Foundation in partnership with the Political Development Forum Yemen started a new initiative to strengthen community safety in Yemen. This pilot project aims to enhance dialogue on and understanding of community safety in five cities (Sana’a, Dhamar, Aden, Al-Mukalla, and Taiz). It further seeks to rebuild trust between the community and local police.
What is community safety?
Community Safety is a widely used concept describing modern forms in which state authorities and (local and national) communities work together in order to ensure safety and security within the state and in local and regional communities. Community Safety aims at promoting public safety by engaging all relevant parties who are important for ensuring safety whether at home, at work, or in public. This includes, therefore, not only the communities themselves, but also local governments, educational institutions, business communities, religious leaders, tribal leaders, and the security and justice providers. Learn more
By April 2021, 35 training, capacity-building and local dialogue activities in the areas of community policing and community safety have been implemented with the local police, community and judiciary structures. These sessions use a variety of approaches to build trust in local actors and systems responsible for security and justice. The starting point for any effort to increase the effectiveness of the police and legal system is to enhance trust, transparency and accountability of these service providers, taking the needs and concerns of local communities into account.
"Honestly speaking the concept and the workshop have given me the impression that we as a community are in the same boat in the middle of the sea. We are the people and the nation. The workshop in general and the concept of community safety is the captain and the concept has changed," noted a community member who attended one of our training sessions. "We used to say it is not our responsibility. We thought we are passengers in the boat. We are also part of this responsibility. If we want to arrive safely, everyone has to do their share."
We used to say it is not our responsibility. We thought we are passengers in the boat. We are also part of this responsibility. If we want to arrive safely, everyone has to do their share.Attendee at one of our training sessions
An inclusive local structure is being formed in five pilot districts: community safety committees (CSCs) have been recently established in Al-Mukalla and Taiz, and plans are underway for the other cities.
The members of these committees are mainly local police and local community representatives. Women make up 35% of the representatives in the committees. The CSCs will also receive an intensive training on community policing and approaches as well as practical steps for enhancing community safety.
The CSCs will also conduct a field needs assessment in the targeted areas to identify local safety problems. Building on these local assessments, pilot initiatives will be developed and implemented by the involved institutions and communities with modest logistical and financial support from the project. To find out more, check out our project website https://csyemen.org/.
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