“Women leaders in Yemen are present in regions where international humanitarian actors are not. Women know exactly where the humanitarian corridors are and negotiate access. Everywhere, women are the first responders,” said Muna Luqman, Founder and Chairperson of the Food4Humanity Foundation. “Yet, everyone acts as if we are new to this field. We have always been at the grass-roots level in Yemen and the local people trust us… More must be done so that funds by international organizations are accessible for local women’s organizations. Please listen to us and look at what we are already doing,” she added.
Luqman was among eight Yemeni women’s rights leaders attending an event themed, “Yemeni women’s leadership in the peace process, humanitarian space and beyond”, taking place in Geneva on 25 February, in the context of the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen. The event was organized by the Permanent Missions of Germany and the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations (UN), UN Women, CARE International, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and Oxfam International.
Chairperson of Yemen Aid, Summer Nasser, emphasized the need for expanding women’s livelihoods, funding for local women’s organizations and opening more avenues for women’s participation, as part of international humanitarian response in Yemen. Muna Luqman highlighted the need to have at least 30 per cent women’s representation in the formal peace talks and to keep the seats empty if delegations did not live up to this requirement. She also called for an independent women-led delegation and for gender experts in all teams handling the peace process.