Hajjah WASH Activities Receive Dutch Contribution for Scale-up

Asma al-Mohattwari

After the great success of the first phase of 3×6 Approach in Arhab, A cost sharing agreement was signed between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the UNDP, represented by Mr. Jeroen Verheul, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands, and Mr. Paolo Lembo, UNDP Resident Representative, for an amount of 500,000 Euros dedicated to Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) on July 6th.

During the signing ceremony, youth beneficiaries from the Arhab conflict-affected areas showcased their successful WASH businesses resulting from the pilot (2012-2013) implemented by the UNDP and ZOA/the Netherlands.

The Arhab area has severe shortage of water and it depends on a few wells for drinking water. In the course of the fighting since 2011, most of the area’s drinking water wells were destroyed and local infrastructure was damaged. Since then, residents have not had sufficient water in their homes for basic needs such as drinking, cooking, laundry, and bathing.

Dr. Virginia Keng, Country Representative, said that despite the security difficulties in Arhab, they could do a vocational training and provide job opportunities for 60 graduated students.

The youth explained how their engagement in UNDP’s 3×6 approach for sustainable employment has improved their economic situation and mitigated the WASH challenges in their area. Noman Al-Shami, 30 year old, said that the vocational training he received through ZOA in WASH allowed him to acquire new skills and secure more income for his family. Moreover, he was able to solve the issue of access to clean water in his community by rehabilitating a cistern.  “My life and the life of my people have improved because of my participation in the project,” Al-Shami said.

The Netherlands contribution is dedicated to scaling up this successful experience in the Hajjah Governorate. Mr. Jeroen Verheul, the Netherlands Ambassador, stressed on the vital importance of improving access to safe water and hygiene practices for the Yemeni people. “Empowering Yemeni youth in the Hajjah governorate is a center of the project objective of which we are signing today,” Mr. Verheul said. “We are looking forward to a successful collaboration of all stakeholders towards this shared goal. Combining vocational training and sustainable access to precious resources such as water will underpin the positive completion of Yemen’s political and economic transition.”

For his part, Mr. Paolo Lembo, UNDP Resident Representative, said that it is quite assuring to observe youth empowered economically in this critical transition period for the people of Yemen. They are acting as peace catalysts as well as to mitigate the aftermath of conflict in their communities.

Mr. Ameen al-Gudami, Deputy Governor and General Secretary of the Local Council Authority in Hajjah, added that Hajja is in a real need of such a project. “We have nine Vocational institutes in Hajjah but without any equipment so the project will provide youth with good job opportunities.”