By Jennifer O’Riordan
More than 130 junior employees from Yemeni government ministries have been recruited to combat corruption, with their first intensive training taking place on Jan. 7 and 8 in Sana’a.
The target audience – described as critical in fighting corruption – come from the ranks of public procurement, warehousing and financial auditing.
“This represents the start of a partnership towards implementation of the National Strategy for combating corruption, to root out corruption and prevent it,” said Ahmed Mohammed Al-Anis, Chair of the Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption (SNACC), at the opening session.
The Peer Learning and Mentoring workshop, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will run until the end of January. Counterpart’s Responsive Governance Project (RGP), which is carrying out the training workshop, is working with key government agencies in Yemen to fight corruption, strengthen financial management and accountability in government and promote civil society engagement among Yemini citizens.
Yemenis fighting corruption
Anti-corruption protests that began in February 2011 have become more focused in recent months. Protestors and workers in Yemen are increasingly demanding the dismissal of corporate and institution leaders linked with the corruption that has marred the country for decades.
In a number of focus group discussions, carried out by Counterpart as part of the project, corruption was cited as a major problem by those surveyed.
“The work you are beginning today is a good first step,” declared Elizabeth Richard, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission, who attended the workshop launch. “In the next phase of the transition, the national Consensus Government and all Yeminis must address the problem of corruption head-on and I believe they are committed to the task.”
The Peer Learning and Mentoring workshop compliments the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, which was released in 2010 by the SNACC.
This month’s training is only the first phase in a series of workshops that are expected to include almost 500 government employees along with representatives from civil society organizations, SNACC, the Central Organization for Control (COCA) and Audit and the High Tender Board (HTB).
The willing participation of Yemen’s most prominent anti-corruption bodies shows a great sense of belief and commitment to the initiative.
“The implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy will not succeed unless we have everybody on board,” said Mr. Al-Anisi, SNACC Chairman. “This represents the start of a partnership towards implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy for combating corruption, to root out corruption and prevent it.”
The training motivates key junior staff to protect public funds and combat corruption, highlighting the positive impact anti-corruption measures will have on Yemeni society.
In addition to SNACC’s Al-Anisi, other attendees of the Jan. 7 and 8 gathering included Dr. Abdulla Abdulla Al-Sanafi from COCA and Abdulmalek Ahmed Al-Anisi from the HTB. Twenty-two civil society organizations also attended the opening.