Programs in Yemen
The continued civil war in Yemen, ongoing since 2014, has led to a severe humanitarian crisis. The UNFPA says the conflict has displaced 4.2 million Yemenis as of 2022 and 20 million citizens are suffering from malnutrition and hunger, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). By February 2022, about 80% of the population lived in poverty. Extreme climate events have only worsened this while increasing people’s susceptibility to disease outbreaks. Since 1959, apart from a 70-year hiatus ending in 2003, USAID programs in Yemen have helped to better the quality of life in the country.

USAID Programs in Yemen

  1. Health Services. USAID’s Yemen Systems Health and Resilience Project (SHARP) aims to improve maternal and child health care in Yemen. SHARP has provided training to “210 community midwives and 413 reproductive health volunteers to improve access to services for women of reproductive age and children under five,” the USAID website states. SHARP also provided skills training to “97 health facility service providers on evidence-based reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition services to ensure the provision of quality services for mothers, pregnant and lactating women and children.” When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, USAID worked with the U.S. government to donate 319,200 COVID-19 vaccines to Yemen, provide oxygen to COVID-19 isolation units, strengthen the country’s cold storage and transport systems for vaccines, trained health workers on infection control methods and carried out awareness-raising activities, among other efforts.
  2. Sanitation and Water Management. About 50% of Yemenis report major water quality issues, making the water situation in Yemen one of the globe’s most severe water crises. In response, in 2021, USAID programs in Yemen provided more than 1.5 million disadvantaged people with access to clean water, improved sanitation and hygiene education. USAID has also brought water access and sanitation to 377,606 students at schools. USAID aligns its water and sanitation projects with the U.S. government goals laid out in the U.S. Global Water Strategy, which defines the framework and steps for the U.S. to advance global water and sanitation.
  3. Food Security. Recently, during a pledging event on June 8, 2022, the U.S. government announced an allocation of $585 million in humanitarian aid for Yemen, which includes more than $561 million from USAID for “emergency food assistance as well as prevention and treatment of severe malnutrition and humanitarian protection for vulnerable populations,” the U.S. Department of State website says. USAID in partnership with the Department of Agriculture will utilize $282 million from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust to aid Yemen, along with five other countries, in addressing food insecurity and wheat price hikes. In November 2022, the agency partnered with Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population on a $4.8 million malnutrition prevention and recovery program to promote nutrition and open resources to families.
  4. Economy and Trade. USAID’s Economic Recovery and Livelihoods Program supports the Yemeni government in economic reform and stabilization of its trade regime by “facilitating the flow of commercial and humanitarian goods and services through Yemen’s borders and ports.” The program has also brought support to smaller enterprises within the country, such as fishing and farming, linking these smaller businesses to the international market. In 2021, USAID helped 1,200 Yemenis attain stable jobs in specific sectors, provided agricultural support to 4,000 workers and “facilitated 400 trade agreements worth $5.04 million between Yemeni producers and local and international buyers for agriculture products.” USAID also helped Yemen’s Ministry of Finance launch “a pilot e-payment system in February 2022 to pay public sector salaries and eliminate financial waste and abuse,” USAID’s website highlights.

Looking Ahead

In a world where many still require emergency humanitarian assistance, foreign aid is critical. Even though there is room for the U.S. government to do more, so far, the U.S. stands as a champion in bringing support to Yemen amid its crisis.

– Audrey Gaines
Photo: Flickr