Yemen

Empowering women and girls in Yemen

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Throughout Yemen’s five-year war, women have often been among those most exposed to the devastating impacts of conflict. The crisis has heightened existing risks that disproportionately affect women, such as gender-based violence, family separation, exploitative labor, and exclusion from lifesaving humanitarian assistance.

In mid-2019, with support from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID/BHA), a non-governmental organization (NGO) partner established a women’s community center that provides protection services to host community members and internally displaced persons in Al Hudaydah Governorate. At the center, women can access specialized services, including consultations with social workers and legal experts to help access humanitarian assistance and basic legal rights and services, including obtaining legal documentation. The NGO also runs informal education and skills workshops that build community among participants and provide psychosocial support.

For women and girls of all ages in the community, the center is one of the only places where they can access services that help build essential skills, empower them, and mitigate the protection risks they face. “I feel comfortable coming to the women’s center…I became social and increased my confidence a lot,” says 40-year old Soumaya.* For other women, the center gives them opportunities to learn new things and become more self-reliant. “The center is a new phenomenon in [the district]…It affected me positively, and I started to love learning new things,” says 20-year old Fatima.* Likewise, 17-year-old Zahra* says, “I love coming here every day. I learned how to make a dress, and soon I will make many and make a living for me and my family.” Even young girls find support and community through the center’s safe environment, like 8-year-old Nadine,* who says, “I love coming to the center with my mother and sister. We play on the swings and have a wonderful time.”

By supporting women’s community centers, USAID/BHA is enhancing the dignity, safety, and well-being of women and girls in Yemen while fulfilling its core mandate to alleviate suffering in the midst of crisis.

*Names have been changed to protect identities