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President's Message: Update from Former IWPR Fellow

This issue, I am donating my usual column space to introduce a former IWPR fellow who has gone on to complete excellent work for women and girls in her home country of Yemen. Intisar Al-Adhi is a former Leadership in Democracy Fellow at the IWPR.Intisar assisted with IWPR's Status of Women in the Middle East and North Africa (SWMENA) project in the spring of 2009, helping to prepare for a SWEMENA workshop in Lebanon (see article p.4). In an email interview from Yemen, Intisar shared experiences as the founder of All Girls Society for Development, an organization that aims to educate and empower girls in her home country, Amanda Lo, IWPR's Communications Intern in the fall 2011 semester, conducted the interview.

IWPR: What has been your experiences and background with women’s issues?
Al-Adhi: I have been working with women in particular and young people since 2003 to plan and implement development programs of interest related to Yemeni women's issues. We also advocate socially and politically for educational issues.

IWPR: I know that you founded an organization in Yemen to help girls. Could you tell me why you started it, and what is the organization’s goal and work?
Al-Adhi: I have a great interest and purpose in my life to be an effective leader in society and to do my best in women's development and serve as an advocate for women’s issues. I had the opportunity to establish the All Girls Society for Development after receiving a diploma in Management of Non Governmental Organizations. I am able to apply what I have studied to support development on the ground.

There is also a great need for Yemeni women in development and awareness programs to contribute to the development of personality of girls and increase girls’ self-confidence.

All Girls Society for Development aims to cultivate the personality of the Yemeni girl with a desire to empower her and enable her to play her role in society in the most effective manner. This is achieved through programs and activities designed according to the inner potential of the girl. We are interested in education, community development, and youth and awareness.

IWPR: How has your experience at IWPR in Washington DC been relevant in helping your work in Yemen?
Al-Adhi: During my time at IWPR, I benefited from the working environment and from working with employees. It helped me identify effective communication methods in a team. I had a wonderful and useful meeting with Heidi [Hartmann, President of IWPR,] who responded to my questions with support and patience. I will not forget when she encouraged me to continue working. I liked the attention towards research and I took advantage of this kind of research that seeks to improve the lives of women. I also learned about the relationship between research organizations and the media. Lastly, I try to add the internship component in most of the projects for All Girls Society programs. I believe that internship experiences are essential in building the capacity of girls and youth.

Amanda Lo is the Communications Intern at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

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