Their News [Archives:2008/1148/Local News]

April 21 2008

Youth activists brainstorm at AIDS workshop

Approximately 115 youth activists and peer educators from across the country met for three days in Sana'a to share ideas and experiences at a national workshop seeking to combat HIV and AIDS by breaking the silence and supporting community-based action to create awareness and life skills-based education.

The workshop was organized by UNICEF, the World Bank, the United Nations Population Fund, GTZ, the Higher Council for Motherhood and Childhood and the Ministries of Public Health and Population, Education, Youth and Sports, Social Affairs and Labor and the National Population Council.

Participants from Sana'a, Aden, Taiz, Hodeidah, Hadramout and Mahwit discussed putting together education manuals for supervisors, teachers and families, in addition to publishing a cartoon strip, all aiming to raise awareness about HIV.

Additionally, a technical committee from among the various ministries involved in the workshop has developed a national framework on HIV prevention, reproductive health and healthy lifestyles.

According to Bothainah Al-Eryani from UNICEF, the workshop participants varied in age, with some coming from different ministries and being older, while others from schools and other groups were much younger. She noted that the youngest participant was 10 years old. A 10-minute documentary film also was shown at the event in an effort to share the field experiences of the peer educators and youth activists.

Workshop on urban water sector reform involves consolidating decentralization

Minister of Water and Environment Abdul-Rahman Al-Eryani stressed the importance of service institutions in Yemen, including the water and sanitation sector, being autonomous by consolidating decentralization and enhancing the local authority's role in the governorates. His statement came during a national workshop organized last Tuesday by the Ministry of Water and Environment in cooperation with the technical secretariat for water supply and sanitation sector in the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ). The workshop sought to discuss the findings from a consultancy study prepared by Management and Consulting Services on consolidating decentralization in the urban water supply and sanitation sector.

Several autonomous local corporations and utilities within the water sector from various governorates attended the workshop, in addition to representatives from the Ministries of Water and Environment, Planning and International Cooperation, and Finance.

Al-Eryani noted that the water supply and sanitation sector has witnessed numerous changes throughout the past 10 years due to a decentralization process that began in the sector in 1997. As a result, new mechanisms are needed to cope with these changes.

He further added that making service utilities autonomous doesn't necessarily mean they won't be subjected to government accountability, particularly the Ministry of Water and Environment, adding that these utilities should be protected from political interference and local centralization in order to offer citizens better service.

The consultancy study presented at the workshop emphasized the transformation of autonomous utilities and local corporations into public companies. It also discussed the relationship between local corporations and water utilities within the same governorate, as well as the relationship between the Ministry of Water and Environment, local corporations and local authorities in the governorates. Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Hamdi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Water and Environment, said local corporations for the water and sanitation sector suffer from misconceptions by local authorities, noting that the water sector should follow an agenda of service and that the governorate's local council should possess the assets.

“Current water corporations follow the local authority's agenda, which in turn follows the government's political agenda; however, this is wrong because the water sector is a service corporation that shouldn't be dominated by any political agenda,” Al-Hamdi pointed out.

MTN awards its first YR 2 million project winner

SANA'A, April 20 ) Last Thursday at Fun City, MTN awarded its first YR 2 million project winner, Bandar Abdul-Da'em Sharaf, in its “Achieve your dreams – Take initiative with us” campaign. The campaign seeks to involve the private sector in supporting small development projects in an effort to consolidate sustainable development within Yemeni society.

MTN general marketing manager Walid Akkawi congratulated Sharaf on his first project. During his speech, Akkawi briefly explained the conditions of the firm's campaign, which automatically qualifies any subscriber to be selected to win funding for his or her project.

Akkawi said MTN-Yemen's strategy is based on creativity and innovation, which is embodied clearly in the major innovative offers MTN presents from time to time. He also noted that the campaign is the first of its type in Yemen and aims to serve subscribers directly by funding a YR 2 million project. He added that the company supports and encourages sports, cultural, educational and health activities.

Sharaf expressed his happiness at MTN-Yemen's willingness to fund and begin his project, stating that the award will expand his future horizons. Further, he called on other firms to adopt and support development projects and follow MTN-Yemen's example in contributing effectively to developing Yemeni society.