Sana'a, the capital city of Yemen
Yemeni society, which has long struggled with low employment and high inflation rates as well as poverty and illiteracy, is now also facing the resurgence of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the unrest that is spreading throughout the Arab world. These compounding factors provide a fertile breeding ground for extremist ideologies, which can quickly be transformed into acts of violent extremism when youth face hopelessness and desperation.
Countering the allure of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations is especially critical, as youth increasingly search for answers and financial support from such groups. The weak control of the state allows the influence of such organizations to spread, but both the Yemeni government and international organizations have achieved only very moderate success in creating effective strategies and programs for countering violent extremism.
Women without Borders / SAVE-Sisters Against Violent Extremism will partner with local experts in Sana’a, Yemen, to launch the country’s first anonymous telephone hotline as a resource for victims of violence and extremism or fanaticism. The hotoline will provide counseling and advice to callers who are concerned that their family or community members may be engaging in violent extremist activities.
This hotline will allow individuals throughout Yemen to anonymously seek help, support, counseling, and answers from a group of professional psychologists and psychiatrists for free.
Such hotlines are slowly gaining recognition and achieving success around the world. Anti-violence hotlines have been launched in the UK, Pakistan, and Germany, with the goal of encouraging civilians to call in to report suspicious activities. The STOP Violence! anti-violence hotline will be in touch with these best-practice models as well as anti-Islamist and domestic violence hotlines to create a comprehensive help hotline that responds to the needs of the local population.
The STOP Violence! hotline will primarily act as a resource for those affected by violence and extremism. Very little psychological counseling is available in the country, especially on this topic. In order to provide help to those affected by violent extremism, the Family Counseling and Development Foundation will therefore make trained psychiatrists and psychologists available to Yemeni society via a toll-free, anonymous telephone hotline, who will provide counseling to callers, suggest ways of dealing with the effects of social, religious, and domestic abuse as well as ways of dealing with extremists themselves, and will constitute a first step toward opening a dialogue around this enduringly taboo topic.