21 December 2015 – Hundreds of youth in Sana’a, Taizz, Aden, Seyoun and Al Mukalla celebrated today the launch of Yemen Our Home, a crowdfunding platform supported by the United Nations Development Programme that links the Yemeni Diaspora with projects targeting affected communities.
Yemen Our Home is articulated around three campaigns: Green Yemen, Productive Yemen, and Inclusive Yemen, reflecting the immediate needs of communities in Sa’ada, Hajjah, Sana’a, Taizz, Ibb, Hadramaut, Aden and Abyan Governorates.
Disrupted electricity supply and a heightened fuel crisis have forced millions into darkness, meaning many communities are unable to operate productive machines, run hospital surgery rooms, collect garbage, or truck or pump water for livestock, irrigation and drinking use. The scarcity of cooking gas has led to high dependency on unsustainable energy sources such as wood and charcoal which further damages natural assets of the country. Green Yemen will provide alternative energy, solid waste management support and water to safeguard the environment for future generations.
As of August 2015, 27 percent of micro, small, medium and large enterprises had closed as a result of the crisis. Businesses are being damaged and losing their customer base. Sourcing goods and commodities is made difficult due to import restrictions. Unemployment, which already stood amongst the highest in the region, is dramatically increasing as markets close and the economic activity comes to a standstill. Productive Yemen aims to revive businesses and social entrepreneurship skills, particularly among youth, to mitigate the impact of the war on communities.
Women bear a heavier burden of war, in particular women-headed households and widows, who must now find work in a culturally accepted profession to sustain their families. Women represent 50 percent of the Yemeni population; yet their role remains secluded and limited. An estimated 90 percent of Yemeni women of working age do not participate in the labour force. In addition, war has disrupted many maternal health facilities and midwifery services. The clinics lack equipment, medicine, and basic facilities. Inclusive Yemen will economically empower women for self-reliance and improve midwifery services as social business.
The Yemeni Diaspora plays an important role in supporting families back home. Encouraged by trade, and also because of conflict, Yemenis have sought better opportunities abroad. Between 6 to 7 million Yemenis have settled in over 40 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America. Of the approximately $3.4 billion in remittances annually going through official channels, and it is anticipated that a significant amount of remittances transferred through informal networks due to the poor penetration of financial services in the country. Through a rapid survey led in August, UNDP estimates that families’ access to international remittances since March has dropped by half. This represents an important source of income for millions that is now shrinking due to the conflict. Yemen Our Home will capitalize on innovative finance, crowdfunding, for communities to better cope.
During the Yemen Our Home launch in Sana’a, at the Sana’a Heritage House in the Old City, Jamie McGoldrick, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, said: “the recovery and reconstruction process requires the full participation of the private sector both inside and outside the country for its success. Yemenis living in the diaspora play a crucial role in supporting communities in need in Yemen, helping to make sure they have access to the goods and services they need.”
"Linking Yemeni individuals and companies outside the country with local needs for local solutions is an innovative response to the crisis, and ensures a Yemeni-driven process”, he added.
More information about the Yemen Our Home campaign, plus ways to engage, can be found on our website: www.yemenourhome.org and social media (details below). Yemen Our Home will encourage Yemeni expatriates to support and drive early recovery efforts that will improve living conditions of the most vulnerable populations in Yemen.
To read more about UNDP Yemen’s work during the ongoing conflict, click here.
You can follow Yemen Our Home on Facebook and Twitter.
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or Fuad Hazaea, Communications Specialist
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