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A dozen Siraj youth champions, seated around a Sheba Foundation facilitator.

Siraj champions strategizing. (Photo: Sheba Youth Foundation, Yemen.)

Yemeni Youth: Champions of Digital Resilience

The Siraj pilot project has been empowering local youth to push back against digital harms. Along the way, many have become genuine champions of digital resilience. We’d like you to meet four of them.

Digital harms are real harms, especially amid humanitarian crisis. In Yemen, we see disinformation fuelling gender-based and sectarian violence, undermining public health efforts, and eroding trust in NGOs. We see online scams, blackmail and other digital attacks harming people at their most vulnerable. Too often, we see digital channels being turned against ordinary Yemenis, by extremists on all sides of conflict.

That’s the context for Siraj, a pilot project we’ve been supporting alongside the Taiz-based Sheba Youth Foundation. To tackle digital threats, Siraj integrates two very different tools: proven AI-supported mitigation methods … but also the energy and online smarts of local youth.  Forty young women and men were selected for intensive training in digital safety and disinformation. They’ve gone on to respond to emerging digital threats, like the click-farm scam response we shared in December. All told, the group tracked 100+ threats and shaped five national awareness campaigns—online and on community radio—driving more than 600,000 user engagements.

Along the way, team members have become genuine champions of digital resilience. Some have gone on to deliver digital-safety training to more young people—for Siraj, but independently as well. Their Facebook page is a now gathering place for 6000+ young Yemenis looking to take ownership of their online lives. And many of these team members are finding ways to build awareness among expanding circles of family, friends and followers.

Meet four Siraj champions

With Siraj’s pilot phase wrapping up, Sheba staff sat down with participants to debrief their experience. Together, they’ve achieved a lot. But we’re equally impressed by how they’re taking their new expertise to their own communities, on their own. These Siraj champions show no signs of slowing down, and we’d like you to meet four of them.

Meet Wala’a

Photo of Wala'a, Siraj champion

From WhatsApp to international radio, she’s growing her voice for women’s digital safety. More…

Meet Hamza

Photo of Hamza, Siraj champion

He believes digitally-savvy youth have a special responsibility to combat digital harms and disinformation. More…

Meet Mohammed

Photo of Mohammed, Siraj champion

He’s helping people confront digital harms and “information chaos,” especially in rural Yemen. More…

Meet Tasneem

Photo of Tasneem, Siraj champion

With her “Hashtag Digital Advice” initiative, she’s helping a growing circle of family and friends stay safe. More…

 

Learn more: About Siraj