New study provides statistics on conflict in select districts
With the assistance of the European Union (EU), the nonprofit group conducted the field study in the Abyan, Lahj and Al-Jawaf governorates between November 2010 and April 2012.
The head of the organization, Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Marwani, praised the report for its transparency and credibility as result of the EU's supervision, and said that the survey provides scientific information and statistics that governing bodies and international aid groups can use to craft appropriate solutions to improve the affected areas' quality of life.
The EU acknowledged their part in the development of the study but declined any further comment on their involvement or the findings.
Doctor Abdul-Karim, a technical officer with the peace project, explained the two pieces of the study. The first phase gathered information on individuals as well as local, tribal, social and civilian authorities based on social and economic factors, and the second phase is designed to use the statistical analysis to create awareness of studied issues through letters and conversations.
Some highlights of the study include the finding that Al-Jawaf has the highest number of weapon possession, followed by Abyan and then Lahj. Al-Jawaf also leads the pack in terms of children with access to guns.
A major focus of the survey was to identify factors contributing to contention in the regions. It found a lack of access to education due to closed schools, a decrease in household income of the families that work in agriculture, a shortage of job opportunities, political insecurity and deteriorating social relations.
Other findings reveal conflicts often exist within families in the areas surveyed, but to varying degrees. In Al-Jawaf the majority of conflicts are within families.
The report pointed out that conflicts often arise as a result of land and boundary disputes. However, in Abyan disputes over territory are much more rare. It also revealed that all three regions report political clashes as a contributor to tension.
In Lahj, the study found that most disputes are reconciled by sheikhs and other respected figures in the community. However, gathered information also reveals that a third party is not always effective in monetary quarrels.
Not surprisingly, political and religious conflicts are the most difficult to resolve according to the study. Examples of these taken into account in the study include the Southern Movement's authority disagreements in Abyan and Lahj and Al-Qaeda's tension with the government.
A majority of residents surveyed do not support tribal conflicts in the areas, but indicate fractions of the local government work to perpetuate these conflicts by supplying weapons to influential people.
In all three areas, people report sheikhs having the most influence to facilitate change for communal benefit. However in Lahj, NGOs provide more services than local councils or tribes. But, in Al-Jawaf, and Abyan, the study found the opposite to be true especially in urban areas.
Al-Marwani hopes the study findings can be used to contribute to the establishment of stability in Yemen.