01 April 2010
UKaid will help build Yemen from the bottom up by working with local communities, Development Minister Mike Foster announced today.
The initiative will provide employment for local people – the equivalent of 30 million days of paid work - and will get 360,000 more pupils into schools. As well as directly improving water, sanitation and education opportunities, it will strengthen the ability of the Yemen government to deliver crucial basic services at a local level.
The UK will provide £100 million over the next five years to address four key areas nationwide. Immediate impact will be delivered through improved basic services and local infrastructure such as schools and health centres, and on setting up cash for work schemes that will provide employment for the poorest people.
It will also help to build assets that benefit the wider community and Yemen’s development as a whole, such as roads and water points.
Longer term, the new funding will support microfinance schemes to help some of Yemen’s poorest people set up their own small businesses, and will help to establish a strong business environment, including a credit bureau and effective consumer protection. And it will help to hand more power to district councils so that they can devolve from central government and meet development needs at a local level.
Key improvements under the new programme include:
Development Minister Mike Foster said:
"Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East, and faces potentially crippling difficulties in the near future. These range from poverty, water shortages and rising unemployment to conflict and political insecurity. Action is needed now to prevent further instability.
"Strengthening government and giving the poorest Yemenis a voice in decisions that affect their lives will contribute to peace and stability in the longer term.”
DFID's funding for this work will go to the Yemen Social Fund for Development (SFD), which operates in all 333 districts in Yemen and helps to improve services for at least one third of the population. It is a wholly Yemeni staffed organisation, which works directly with local communities to improve infrastructure, health, education and jobs.
DFID has worked successfully with the SFD over the last five years, delivering real benefits to people in Yemen. These included a 10% increase in the availability of doctors and a 40% increase in midwives; a 91% increase in boys and 122% increase in girls going to school in rural areas; and a 30% increase in children under two receiving full immunisation.
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