45% of people in Yemen live below the poverty line
Abdulkareem lives with his wife and six children in the Ad-Dihar district of the Ibb governorate. In 2011 he lost his government job. Since then, he has struggled to provide for his family, affected like many others by volatile food prices. Abdulkareem’s children have had to sacrifice their education in order to find work and contribute to the household’s income.
The plight of families such as Abdulkareem’s is not uncommon in Yemen. It is the poorest country in the Middle East, with 45% of the population living below the poverty line. Due to political instability in 2011, the number of severely food insecure households doubled compared to 2009. Child malnutrition rates also increased, with just under 50% showing signs of stunted growth according to the WFP. Abdulkareem’s own children, he explains, do not get enough food to eat and are showing signs of malnutrition.
Food vouchers for work schemes
To support the most vulnerable households, ACTED is providing food vouchers for over 6000 families with the support of USAID/Food for Peace, and has set up food-voucher-for-work schemes. Those involved in the scheme work on infrastructure such as roads, identified by ACTED teams, in need of rehabilitation.
Abdulkareem explains why a rebuilt road has helped his family: “previously the road to our village was impassable without 4X4s, but with the improved road people are able to better access jobs and markets, and get on with their lives.”
Communities at the heart of ACTED project planning
An important aspect of ACTED’s work is to involve communities in the planning of a project so that it effectively responds to their needs. This involvement has encouraged a forward-thinking attitude and Abdulkareem has already made a suggestion for what should be done next – his community should now address the local sewage system which today presents threats of waterborne disease.
ACTED teams also provide female-headed households in Yemen with food vouchers and in exchange those receiving the vouchers attend nutrition and hygiene training sessions and send their children to school.