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Yemen: support for the whole economy

Written by Mohammed Addum, Livelihood Programmes Manager

Something that has been impressive for me?

Arhab is a district of Sana’a, 30km from Save the Children’s office. It is an interesting place. We have so many stories from there.

We worked in four villages, assisting both displaced families and local people affected by conflict.

Arhab was affected by violence last year, air strikes, and heavy-gun machine attacks. Homes and mosques were destroyed. I have pictures of buildings with missing walls and bullet holes.

The people here live in stone houses. During the conflict, people took shelter in caves in the mountains to protect themselves from the bombing.

Helping local business

In March, we distributed cash vouchers to 2,100 people. They can use the vouchers to buy things at local shops.

The shops were very small because there’s no market in that area. People in the community would have to spend money on transport to bring food into the village or go 15km to buy food. It would cost them a great deal.

Some donors and partners are reluctant to give cash vouchers to families. There is a perception that when you give cash to men, they will use the money for qat (a leaf which is chewed and is a mild stimulant).

But, ha! How they are wrong. After we distribute the cash vouchers, we saw men coming to buy food from the shops with shopping lists given to them by their wives!

The vouchers also helped the small vendors we worked with, and they have managed to grow in size and are now able to provide food for all the village.

We’re not just trying to provide food for people, but support the whole economy. The cash voucher programme really helps business.

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