In a country in which almost half of the population are food insecure, the poorest Yemenis are benefiting from £2 million GBP Islamic Relief programme to tackle poverty and hunger.

Food insecurity in Yemen has doubled in the last two years, and the scale of the malnutrition challenge is enormous. Almost one million children under five are acutely malnourished and of these, 267,000 are severely malnourished.

The project, which began late last year, is delivering a set of integrated and coordinated poverty reduction and economic recovery measures. Focussing on rural communities in Hodeida, Abyan and Lahj governorates, the scheme is promoting sustainable livelihoods and improving economic well-being as well as living conditions.

Tackling malnutrition amongst the poorest communities

The project – which is being coordinated with public health officials as well as organisations in the health and nutrition sectors – is promoting the nutritional benefits of breast-feeding through a series of community activities in Hodeida and Lahj governorates.In addition, around 3,400 families are to receive nutritional support.

Interventions include providing supplementary food, as well as mobile health clinics. Around 100 health professionals and volunteers will be trained by Islamic Relief and the government health department, to spot the early signs of malnutrition.

Improving livelihoods for vulnerable families

Islamic Relief is also to work with around 1,200 vulnerable farmers and fishermen, to help them to improve their income and boost their resilience to disasters such as drought. Training is being provided, as well as seeds, fertilisers and money to help them to develop sustainable livelihoods.

We are also working with women to boost their economic capacity, and bringing communities together to develop innovative agro-business models.

The project also promotes the need for environmental protection and disaster-risk reduction, in a world where climate change is hitting the poorest communities the hardest. Fish cultivation and saline-tolerant crops are amongst the measures being introduced to help protect poor communities from the impact of climate change.

Local people are being paid to work on improving vital infrastructure, such as clearing debris, rebuilding sluice gates and bringing abandoned irrigation channels into use.

Already, over 400 beneficiaries have been trained in the sectors of fishery, agriculture and livestock.

Building bright futures for young people

Around 800 young people will receive crucial employability skills through a targeted programme of training and capacity building.

The project offers training in entrepreneurship, computing, and English language as well as leadership and basic job-hunting skills. In line with our peace-building work in Yemen, we will also provide training on conflict resolution and dialogue.

Hundreds of motivated students are expected to receive support – including training, tools and start-up capital – required to set up small enterprises. The young people will be encouraged to learn from other governorates.

In addition, youth groups will develop their skills by cleaning and improving public spaces such as parks and beaches – and will also benefit from training by our emergency response team to enable them to support their communities in times of crisis. So far, 300 young people have gotten involved in our training workshops, and four clean-up campaigns have been completed.