CANADA: More Generous towards Yemen [Archives:1999/07/Law & Diplomacy]

February 15 1999

The total Canadian aid to Yemen this year is expected to exceed one million US dollars. Last week, several Canadian delegations visited the country in this light.
Mr. Ian Shaw, Second Secretary at the Canadian Embassy in Riyadh, indicated that his government wants to make sure that whatever resources are made available to Yemen are properly used. “If that is the case, there is no reason why additional resources cannot be channelled from Ottawa to Sanaa in an increasing volume,” he said. Mr. Shaw pointed out that there were several funds which Yemeni programs and projects can tap into.
Indeed, Ms. Fatima Ameen, Senior Policy Advisor at Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the official organ through which international assistance is channelled, is also on a visit to study financing possibilities.
“This is my first visit to Yemen. My visit has two purposes, one of which was that the Canadian government had given Yemen assistance in its demining activities. Very early in the process, the Canadian government wanted to send its message of support to Yemen to other potential donors. Canada donated US$ 100,000 worth of equipment (special demining suits). MED-ENG, the company that produces the equipment has sent two representatives to Sanaa to discuss implementation.”
The Government of Canada has also donated Can$ 950,000 which will be used to carry out a survey of Yemen’s demining rehabilitation needs and efforts. The funds which will be dispensed through the UNDP, will also be used to develop a national strategy for demining activities.
“We have also decided to donate Can $ 250,000 to women’s development projects, human rights NGOs, and to support grass-roots level self-help initiatives,” she said.
Ms. Ameen is also looking at the broad scope of the list of project funds being dispensed through the Riyadh embassy. “The Canadian government donates funds for small projects in Yemen through the embassy,” she explained.
The third aspect of her visit was also to look at possibilities and opportunities in the context of human rights and democratic development. “I want to see what assistance we can provide,” she concluded.
Alternatives is a Canadian NGO that has been recipient of CIDA funds to link up with Yemeni NGOs in project execution. Mr. Soubhi Hamouda, Program Officer for the Middle East at Alternatives, is presently on a visit to Yemen. He has discussed potential projects to be executed with local NGO partners.
“I am here to finalize details of cooperation on various projects. The first one among these is the Rehabilitation Center (RC) in Aden. We hope to bring Palestinian doctors to do training at the RC. The objective is rehabilitation of the landmine victims,” he said.
The objective is to create awareness about the problems of landmines, how to deal with them, and how the community can be involved.
Another project Alternatives is considering is to work with the Yemen 21 Forum to come up with a directory for Yemeni NGOs. Another possibility is to work with centers for training to manage media programs and how to use websites.
The Canadian Government, through the embassy in Riyadh, has also provided Can $ 50,000 to finance the shipment of medical books and journals donated by Canadian Universities to Al-Thawra Hospitals’s library.