The World Bank’s Board of Directors approved a US$50 million grant for the expansion of a public works program in Yemen that has proved effective in answering the need for more economic opportunities and improved access to basic services. The additional financing comes at the request of the government of Yemen, to increase the geographic scope of the project and bring the benefits of job creation and better education, health and sanitation services to more Yemenis.
The existing Labor Intensive Public Works Project, which began in 2012 with an initial grant of US$61 million, is expected to benefit about 1.3 million people with 382 sub-projects. By expanding it, the government hopes to reach another 1.3 million. The additional grant will fund 313 new sub-projects to be spread across all six of Yemen’s newly established regions.
“With more sub-projects, poor communities in remote, rural areas of Yemen will reap the benefits of better service and infrastructure and more jobs,” said Wael Zakout, World Bank Country Manager for Yemen. “The scaled-up project will also support decentralization efforts with its national presence and by providing training and capacity building for local municipalities.”
The expanded project will continue to use local contractors, and employ people from local communities, to deliver labor-intensive, small-scale, demand-driven sub-projects to sparsely populated rural settlements, as well as to poor communities in urban areas. While individuals will benefit from short-term jobs and vocational training, their work will in turn benefit the entire community through the creation of new education and health related infrastructure, improved sewage and water services and paved roads.
The additional grant comes with a sharper focus on the inclusion of women and increased participation of citizens. Women engineers will be contracted for the design and preparation of sub-projects, and women will also be hired for the short-term jobs associated with project implementation. Mechanisms will be established for filing complaints and an extensive process of gathering citizen feedback on the results of sub-projects will be initiated.
By early this year, around 165,000 people had more access to primary health care as a result of the first phase of the Public Works Project, and roughly the same number had better access to schools. Almost 100,000 people had easier access to drinking water or sanitation.