Abeer Al-Absi, Progressio’s Country Representative in Yemen, reports on a visit by the UK Ambassador in Yemen to a women’s rights workshop in Al-Hali District, Hodeidah, held in September:

The Ambassador, Mr Nicholas Hobton, began by thanking everyone present for attending, adding that it would be impossible for the event to happen without the collaboration of Progressio partner organisations Half of Society, Women Education and Qotof, and that it was an extremely important  event not only for Yemen but for all countries that value friendship and partnership with Yemen like the UK.

Mr Hobton acknowledged the challenges that ladies and girls face all over Yemen and in Hodeidah in particular, in terms of their rights, and said it was encouraging to see that concerned Yemeni men are also active in trying to achieve equality. He tried to explain the situation of women in the UK by giving a good personal illustration since he comes from a family with a strong mother and one where the women are very influential. Mr Hobton admitted that even in a society like in the UK where women’s rights are more equal, there are still problems for women.

Mr Hobton was optimistic that Yemeni women would one day will take the lead. “I mention this because I am sure that among the ladies at the back one of you one day may take the job of Excellency governor,” he said, and added that he “hoped all those participating in this project and other similar events fulfil their ambition in achieving equal rights for women.”

Mr Hobton declared that the National Dialogue process enshrined in the Gulf Cooperation Council agreement is an opportunity for the future of Yemeni women; and that every Yemeni man and woman must recognize that Yemen has a bright future but also one that depends on its women.

Wishing all the partners luck with their work, Mr Hobton said he “hoped for a better future for the women of Yemen including those in Hodeidah.” Finally, Mr Hobton thanked Progressio, Progressio local partner organisations, and participants for welcoming him and other British Embassy team members who attended the event. 

The visit of the UK Ambassador to Yemen and other British Embassy members came as a result of the fruitful partnership between Progressio-Yemen and British Embassy-Sana’a through the project ‘Combating discrimination against women in Hodeidah’.

The workshop for community members in Al-Hali District, Hodeidah was organized by partner NGOs and held at Qotof Foundation. The project to combat discrimination against women in Hodeidah is implemented by the Women’s Committee (with representatives from Half of Society, Women Education and Qotof) in the Hodeidah Civil Society Forum for Development, with technical support from Progressio and financial support from the British Embassy.

Read more about the project in our interview with Hanan Omar, head of Half of Society

Photo: Abeer (left) and UK Ambassador Nicholas Hobton (blue tie) in the audience during the presentations (and yes, we are aware of the dynamic in the room: men at the front, women - apart from Abeer - at the back!)


This is a very positive development which signifies a new dawn in the fight for gender equity in the Yemeni Society. We on the ground are committed to this cause and we will continue to give all necessary input until our dreams are realised. Thanks to the dedicated team on the ground for together we will work with the people to empower them in their lives.

Joseph : DW - Local Governance Advisor, Hodeida.