Awareness raising campaign on legal documentation and woman rights [Archives:2005/869/Reportage]

August 18 2005

Undoubtedly specifying of individual dignity is a basic form of human rights. Remarkable human achievements in this regard are what we called “Official Documents” i.e. “ID, Birth Certificate, Marriage, ownership and Divorce Documents”. Those Documents maintain and convey, officially, legally, socially and politically the person's presence and rights, and allows him/her to acquire his/her social, educational, economical and political rights. On the individual level, lack of such documents could be a barrier for having many civil rights for example, ownership, heritage, decision-making and voting rights.

Society for the Development of Woman and Children SOUL has thought seriously to take action in this regards and raise the awareness of citizens on the importance of possession documents by launching an awareness campaign among the general public, focusing on women. Therefore, Middle East Partnership Initiative MEPI – acting through Public Affairs Section PAS agreed to cooperate with SOUL to undertake the project. With this regards, the awareness campaign ideas were identified to support MEPI program Goals & Pillars through promoting and supporting Yemeni citizens in political & legal reforms and empowerment of women. It addressed -1- Political / Legal through Strengthening democracy and civil society practices. Where as the project targeted vast number of citizens to raise their awareness on the right way on issuing Official Documents, where, how, when etc. The civil rights of citizens were mostly enlightened during the awareness, focusing on the results of acquiring such documents on him / her. – 2- Empowerment of Women: Reducing barriers to women's full participation in society. The project sought to reduce the barriers – legal, Social and political to women's full participation in society, it focused on women awareness in protecting their civil rights such as ownership, heritage.

The project aimed at providing key education to both females and males, with a greater focus on females, on the importance of legal documentation. It is a national wide awareness campaign through different mass media such as TV, Radio, News papers and reportages. The campaign focused on documents of ID, Birth Certificate, family card, vaccination card, ownership and heritage. All these documents were presented in materials. The campaign was undertaken mainly on Sana'a city through distribution campaign materials and interpersonal communication, which were conducted through field visits to number of female and boys schools, and women gatherings.

The preparation and organization of the campaign began at the end of September 2004. This phase took most of the performance's period of the project activities. According to the plan of action, SOUL started to recruit the project team and contacted all relevant institutions and individuals. The designing and the production of awareness campaign materials (TV promotional flashes, Radio Flash, and Posters) and implementation followed

During the process of preparing the campaign, a pre-assessment (survey) and a brainstorming sessions were conducted. Students (male-female), lawyers, doctors, teachers as well as members of the general public were invited to these sessions. The official documents were the core of the session and a lot of information was gathered that helped to modify the questionnaire and form the actual strategy of the campaign. The assessment aimed to identify social characteristics of the targeted audience, know the most preferable mass media to targeted audience, and measure the level of awareness and know the exact number of students who possess the ID.

The results of pre-assessment showed that 30.6 % of those respondents think it is still too early for them to get an ID card due to the belief that the legal age for acquisition of the ID card is 18. However, this is a misconception as the legal age under Yemeni law is 16. Accordingly, the campaign messages were adapted due to the results of the pre- assessment.

The campaign was launched on March 18, 2005, and ended on April 18, 2005. The campaign lasted about one month in all channels of mass media. Project team followed up the process of the constant efforts and received the reactions of audience through random visited to schools and other institutions, received calls from different interested people. During this period an interpersonal communication sessions were held for 2o schools- boys and girls-. Full cooperation and facilitations offered by school headmasters to implement the awareness sessions. Really students showed their interaction in campaign through writing articles and raising the topic in school morning queue. It is very obvious through random visits to targeted schools how the campaign influenced the secondary school students. Furthermore, the cooperation of different related institution to facilitate the implementation of the campaign. About 700000 subscribers received message through their Mobile as well as 50000 through Emails. Number of those subscribers called SOUL to know on the campaign. The campaign received an appreciation among Yemeni mass media.