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Marta Colburn

Marta Colburn has over 35 years of experience in the Middle East leading organizations and supporting relief and development efforts, including 17 years working on Yemen.

Marta most recently served as the Country Programme Manager for UN Women Yemen and has had leadership roles with Oxfam, Mercy Corps, CARE International, UNRWA, IBTCI, American Institute for Yemeni Studies and Portland State University’s Middle East Studies Center. As a consultant Marta has worked with various international and local organizations including the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, ADRA, CARE, Oxfam, British Council, IOM, Mercy Corps, Social Fund for Development, Yemeni Women’s Union, Youth Leadership Development Foundation, Silatech, Partners for Democratic Change, IBTCI and ORB International.

Marta has a MSc and BA in Political Science from Portland State University and has a strong background in research and evidence-based knowledge products, gender, organizational accountability and transparency and civil society strengthening.

Marta's latest contributions

The Yemen Brief Podcast | Episode 8 | Minority Communities in Yemen, Part One: Muhammasheen

April 17, 2022
The Muhammasheen, literally the “marginalized,” is an ascriptive term designating an ethnic hereditary minority of Yemenis associated with certain types of occupations. Its members, numbering some 500,000 to 800,000, are prohibited from bearing arms or owning property, and stigmatized as weak and of foreign descent. The ostracization of the … Read more

Bringing Forth the Voices of Muhammasheen

July 13, 2021
The Muhammasheen, meaning “the marginalized,” is an ascriptive term designating a group of Yemenis who were traditionally called (literally meaning “the servants”). Membership in this ethnic minority is hereditary, associated with certain types of occupations, and in traditional Yemeni social structures its members are considered ‘weak’ and … Read more

The Life Phases of a Yemeni Woman

March 10, 2021
This study examines the diversity of experiences of women and girls in Yemen who face differing gender dynamics and challenges at various stages in their lives. It explores age-specific issues during five phases of life for girls and women in the following categories: Birth, Infancy and Childhood (0-9 years of age); Puberty and Adolescence … Read more

A New Path Forward: Empowering a Leadership Role for Yemeni Civil Society

January 27, 2021
Throughout six years of conflict, Yemeni civil society organizations (CSOs) have sought to contribute to humanitarian response efforts in a dynamic crisis. However, they have faced considerable challenges in playing a leadership role in response efforts, building meaningful partnerships with international organizations and directly accessing donor … Read more