HWA: Back on Track [Archives:1999/04/Reportage]
The Hadharem Welfare Association (HWA), one of the country’s most active NGOs during the mid-1990s and earlier, was finally back on track last week. On January 20th, 1999, the general assembly of the NGO – all the Saqqafs of Hugarriah and their neighbors – held an important meeting to review its past record, take stock of its activities, elect a new board of directors and a financial supervisory committee, and agree on a 3-year plan of action
The HWA, which was the target of open action by the state during 1995/96, was subjected to all kinds of harassment, including an attempt to dismantle its legally elected board of directors. The NGO which simply refused to be politicized or be used to advance the political agenda of the ruling party, the People’s General Congress, was supposed to serve as an example of any NGO that refuses “to see light” according to the PGC politicians.
The prime minister at the time ordered the replacement of the elected board by hand-picked friends. He also ordered the transfer of control and management of the Women’s Development Center to another NGO. When neither order was implemented because the general assembly – read the people of the region – refused to obey illegal orders, an army of 400 soldiers and officers occupied the Hadharem region. After one week, and continued refusal by the people to budge, the army was removed.
Then recently, there was more trouble. Five months ago, the Ministry of Social Affairs – using a dozen locals from the region – oversaw the establishment of a rival NGO in the same region to undermine and/or replace the HWA. Again, the people refused to work with this new NGO. The authorities have perfected the art of breeding splinter political parties, unions, guilds, NGOs, and other organizations, to weaken a political party, union, guild of NGO which does not toe the line of the rulers.
The HWA is not anti-PGC. It is, in fact, politically neutral. However, it refuses to be used by any particular political party.
On January 20th, in the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs, the leading political parties of Yemen (PGC, Islah, YSP, and Nasserites), as well as regional community elders, the HWA held an important convention in which the NGO’s future course was charted.
The HWA decided to pursue the construction of two new schools – both for girls, a new technical/vocational center for boys, and three feeder roads.
It also decided to consolidate the work of the Women’s Development Center, the Hadharem Drinking Water Project, the Shoura Health Clinic, and the large boys’ school.
The NGO also decided to look into two sectors that will generate income in the region. These are the fruit-tree planting project, which is going to be implemented hand in hand with the small dam project, and the animal husbandry project. The objective of both projects is to increase the local output of fruits and domesticated animals.
HWA Elected Bodies:
A. Board of Directors:
1- Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf: Chairman and CEO;
2- Talal Abdul-Hadi Al-Saqqaf: Secretary-General;
3- Adnan Fadhle Al-Saqqaf: Financial Director;
4- Abdul-Wahid Ali Al-Saqqaf: Director of Projects;
5- Abdul-Jabar A/Moen Al-Saqqaf: Director – Village Branch;
6- Tawfeek A/Warith Al-Saqqaf: Director – Aden branch;
7- Abdul-Rahim Saeed Al-Saqqaf: Director – Taiz Branch;
8- Fayez Noureldeen Al-Saqqaf: Director – Sanaa Branch;
9- Walid Abdullah Al-Saqqaf: Director, PR & Follow-up.
B. Financial Supervisory Committee:
1. Ali Abdul-Hadi Al-Saqqaf: Chairman;
2. Imad Ahmed Al-Saqqaf: Rapporteur;
3. Nayef Noureldeen: Member.
By: Bassam A. Al-Saqqaf,