Blog by Jeff Gowa, Country Director of CARE International in Yemen.
With a second 'Friends of Yemen' conference being convened by the governments of Yemen, the UK and Saudi Arabia this week, we eagerly await detail on the new pledges and proportion of donations committed to the humanitarian and development work that is so crucial to the Yemeni people.
Poverty and displacement
Yemen has the highest levels of poverty in the Middle East. A staggering 56 per cent of households don’t currently have enough food to eat and over 545,000 people have been displaced by conflict. The UN estimates that $585 million is required to address humanitarian need and their appeal is only 49% funded.
The significant political, economic and security difficulties which this country faces make it a very hard context to work in.
Planning and implementing activities on the ground, especially in isolated rural areas, where the fluid operating environment changes on a daily basis, can be extremely challenging. It also means that the Yemeni people are in greater need of CARE’s services and support than ever before.
Many communities we work in are hosting people who have fled conflict in other parts of the country. The arrival of significant numbers of vulnerable people puts communities that are already struggling under further economic and social hardships.
For example, the arrival of displaced families means that stressed water systems now require expansion and have to be rehabilitated to accommodate the increasing number of water users.
UK Aid and the humanitarian response
The UK Department for International Development (DFID) has prioritised funding for the humanitarian response. With the support of UK Aid, CARE is working in Amran governorate in northern Yemen to rehabilitate water systems; train community members to carry out water, sanitation and hygiene awareness campaigns; and deliver hygiene kits to internally displaced people fleeing from violence.
Through these activities, we hope to reach around 42,700 displaced people and members of host communities. People who have had to flee their homes with little or no possessions are in need of livelihoods support and access to basic services such as food, water, education and healthcare.
We are working in collaboration with other aid agencies to provide a comprehensive range of services to those who need them most.
Women in Yemen
Women played a pivotal part in calling for political change in Yemen, but the transition to democracy is being felt particularly hard by them.
CARE is working with the Yemeni Women’s Union to provide protection for 4,000 vulnerable women who are systematically exposed to early and/or forced marriage, various forms of domestic abuse (physical and psychological violence), as well as being denied access to basic education and having restricted freedom of movement.
We’re doing this by raising the awareness of local authorities and community leaders regarding women’s rights and protection needs; training social workers; providing legal and mediation services; and running sexual and gender-based violence support groups.
I hope this small glimpse into the work we do demonstrates how vital funding is in a country like Yemen. The rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation here means that without adequate and appropriate funding the future for the people of Yemen could be a bleak one.
About the author:
Jeff Gowa has over 24 years of experience running and advising on development/emergency operations in disaster and conflict affected countries with CARE International.
As Country Director Jeff is responsible for the overall management of CARE’s operations in Yemen.
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