Early recovery projects restored stability in Alaqamah in Taiz
The security situation has improved relatively in many areas of conflict in rural areas of Taiz by the end of 2016 triggering the about one million, out of 3.2 million displaced Yemeni people, to return to their homes after bitter suffering. However, the returnees in their areas have faced so significant snags that most of them saw no purpose of their return. The SFD "cash for work" interventions here responded providing the best solution to encourage the return of IDPs and support the resident villagers, such as the case of Alaqamah village (Taiz), to start early recovery and rehabilitate their means of earning a living while providing cash to the poor in order to provide their basic needs till these means start to produce.
By early 2016, the war entered Mawza'a district, with a poverty rate of 90%, that witnessed all types of weapons. The violence has displaced and killed vulnerable civilians and risked their stability. Among the villages of Mawza'a is "Alaqamah" where most population were jobless and marginalized groups whose unemployment rate was 95%.
Dozens of families fled Alaqamah and lived in neighboring areas without shelter materials and under heavier violence than in their village itself. As calm began to return to Alaqamah, the displaced did not return and stayed without aid or security in areas such as Albarh, Mokha and Alma'afir..
Here, the Cash-for-Work Program established a $500 thousand emergency interventions in Alaqamah encouraging 150 displaced families to return and re-establishing stability with a package of income-generating sub-projects in which 510 households participated. They created multiple infrastructure in the village and received labor wages.
Khamisa Sultan, a widow woman from the marginalized group, worked in the project, and used her income to buy food for her eight children. With additional financial support from another organization, Khamisa purchased a camel. "I bought wheat for my kids, and added some money and bought a camel" Khamisa said. Currently, she invests the camel to transport food, firewood and fodders for the villagers for fees or cereals.
According to Abdul Karim Musa, member of volunteers committee in Alaqamah, most households suffered food insecurity. They were used to soak bread into tea in most meals, and they were asking their sons and daughters out of school to earn their living. The villagers began for the first time to capitalize on the project's potential to build the watershed and torrential waters bumpers in the Alaqamah valley, to repair irrigation canals to their lands, and to rehabilitate agricultural lands. Women helped them by carrying little stones and water.
The participating households have spent the cash on food and other basic commodities. All residents of Alaqamah have got a public project to protect their lands, cultivate it and grow crops and earned money by which they enjoyed stability, buy their needs and buy productive assets sometimes..
Ghanem Ahmed, a beneficiary who created a home garden, describing his household's new behavior "We had hated to live in despair and extreme poverty. Today, thanks God, I own a productive home garden. We plant vegetables, cucumbers and okra. In the past, our meals was either bread with tea or bread with dried fish. Now we put okra and eggs in our meals. I am now preparing to expand my garden in order to feed my wife and kids."
The World Bank has been funding this Emergency Response Crisis Project through the UNDP since October 2015. The SFD is implementing the project for two years in conflict affected areas.