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Our Work

4 children in Yemen smiling
Yemeni school children take a break from their lesson to smile for the camera.

In January 2011, millions of Yemenis joined in peaceful demonstrations to express frustration and demand change. Yemen mapped steps to transition from more than three decades of autocratic rule towards representational governance. This process of transformation continues through an inclusive National Dialogue that will build broad consensus on reforms and set the stage for a new constitution and for presidential elections to be held in 2014. Yemen’s transition aims to address key issues—such as future relations between the feuding north and the south, and rights and freedoms—to lay the foundations for effectively tackling the country’s long-term development challenges.

USAID’s assistance addresses the underlying causes of instability in the country by focusing on improving the delivery of essential services, including health and nutrition, education and water leading to more resilient communities; strengthening livelihoods through infrastructure rehabilitation, agricultural productivity improvements, and entrepreneurship; promoting inclusive decision-making and government engagement with civil society with a special eye towards female and youth engagement; and providing women and youth with meaningful civic, social and economic opportunities.


USAID is helping Yemen pursue its transition to democracy by supporting the historic National Dialogue process and electoral reforms. USAID is assisting the government of Yemen to enhance the transparency and integrity of Yemeni elections through a new voter registry system. Further support to domestic monitoring and voter education will improve citizen engagement and understanding of electoral processes. USAID supports a wide range of initiatives aimed to ensure transparency and broad civic engagement in Yemen’s National Dialogue process, such as training for the dialogue’s 565 delegates; a women peacemaker’s camp; tracking polling and public opinion research; and a series of reconciliation forums to foster increased understanding and consensus among diverse stakeholders on contentious social issues. USAID’s assistance to community-level efforts are informing and empowering citizens—especially women and youth—to engage in this extraordinary time of change and work to build institutions, achieve political and economic reforms, resolve conflicts and otherwise improve their lives and communities.


USAID is working to improve the capacity of Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population to deliver critical health services, including conducting a demographic and health survey, provision of primary health care, disease surveillance, and supply chain systems development and management. Current projects are working to improve the delivery of critical health services, increase the availability of health commodities, increase access to health services and information, and improve acceptance of healthy behaviors among key populations. USAID’s efforts will contribute to a reduction in maternal and infant mortality and an increase in contraceptive prevalence.


USAID works with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to expand and improve access and quality for early grade learners, in particular girls. Improved access is attained through school rehabilitation and the provision of didactic materials. In 2012, 134 schools were improved; 6,696 Teaching Aid Kits were distributed to primary school classrooms; and selected schools received innovative rainwater catchment and solar electric technologies. USAID also supports 134 councils that are actively engaging and integrating families into the learning process. USAID contributes to improved school performance through investments in teaching and learning materials for Early Grade Reading (EGR), a phonics and comprehension methodology for grades 1-3 developed with the MOE. In 2012, USAID’s teacher training in EGR skills was administered in 381 schools with 3,000 teachers. Improved student performance as a result the EGR approach is encouraging the MOE to expand the program to a greater number of schools in conjunction with the World Bank’s adoption of EGR materials into their education program.


USAID investments in economic development and agriculture support Yemen’s path to enhanced economic growth. USAID promotes an enabling business environment that creates employment opportunities for men, women and youth equally. This includes facilitating the financing of select agricultural value chains; capacity building of financial institutions to support agricultural lending; exploring alternative energy technologies; drafting of the Mobile Money Law and the identification of financially viable products and services in the mobile money sector; increasing access to women’s livelihood activities; promoting demand-driven vocational training, job fairs and career counseling; and advancing public-private sector dialogue to support an improved business climate. Presently, USAID supports infrastructure rehabilitation, value chain development, and microfinance and small enterprise support to help improve livelihoods for vulnerable populations. Following the 2011 crisis, USAID contributed to job creation by initiating labor-intensive infrastructure rehabilitation projects that employed over 9,900 at-risk youth in Yemen’s major cities. USAID will seek to identify paths to enhanced use of science, technology and innovation partnerships to deepen our return on investment in this area.


USAID has helped the government to improve the delivery of social services to communities in underserved and unstable parts of the country with over 600 “quick impact” activities focusing on youth, water, health, education, electricity, and road repair undertaken since March 2010. Projects like these help to increase the government’s legitimacy in these hard-to-reach areas.


USAID is providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to 344,019 internally displaced persons ( IDPs) affected by the conflict, as well as other vulnerable populations in Yemen. USAID’s interventions focus on addressing the needs of conflict-affected populations in the north and south, and on the populations nationwide most affected by the country’s deteriorating economic conditions, through:

  • Livelihoods support to increase families’ ability to purchase food, water and basic commodities;
  • Multi-sector programs to treat and prevent acute malnutrition and severe illnesses and increase access to clean water and sanitation facilities for highly vulnerable populations;
  • Food commodities and vouchers to food insecure populations; and
  • Humanitarian coordination, mapping, and security support in an environment with limited access, to ensure relief agencies provide a rapid and strategic response to identified needs.

Our approach ensures that USAID’s assistance reaches those most in need and is designed to remain flexible to respond to new requirements in an uncertain and fluid environment.

Last updated: July 21, 2014

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