Humanitarian response in Yemen: Not just saving lives but building capacity for the long term

by 27th Jun 2018
Girls pour clean water from the well in Lahj, Yemen, into their cans Girls pour clean water from the well in Lahj, Yemen, into their cans

CARE Yemen's response to the crisis has been to buy local and to build local. The ability of humanitarian agencies to respond in Yemen is currently under threat - but the impact of that work is crucial not just in meeting immediate needs, but in building local capacity to meet needs in the longer term. Here's what one of CARE's emergency response projects in Yemen has achieved, and how we did it.

What did we accomplish?

  • People got clean water: 435,315 got access to clean water sources, nearly 69,000 of them in schools and health centers.
  • Families got quality health care: 29,836 people received health services from trained health workers. 4,738 people got treated for malnutrition.
  • Everyone got more food: 64% of people spent cash they received on food. 2% of people spent money on water. The remaining money went to health care and paying down existing debts.
  • The project worked for participants: depending on the intervention, 89-100% of project participants said they were satisfied with what they received.

 How did we get there?

  • Build on local resources: CARE re-built local water points rather than spending the money on trucking in water. This leaves resources that communities can continue to use in future. They also distributed water and food vouchers, so people could buy locally and support the economy in the community.
  • Do our homework, then be flexible: the project started with a participatory needs assessment so that they could target what families needed most. Once the cholera outbreak started, they dramatically increased WASH activities to help protect the most vulnerable people in the community.
  • Think about the whole portfolio: The project team used this money to fill in gaps from other programmes and avoid duplicating effort. So in a community where another donor was focusing on food distribution, CARE focused this money on water.
  • Focus on gender: The project did a training in gender mainstreaming for all staff and used CARE’s Gender Marker as a way to measure progress towards quality gender programming.

Want to learn more?

This project was funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Dutch Relief Alliance which funded the Yemen Joint Response with $8.2 million from 2015-2017. Other implementers include Save the Children, IRC, Oxfam, and ZOA.

Check out the full evaluation here.

Emily Janoch

Emily Janoch is Senior Technical Advisor on Knowledge Management for the CARE USA Food and Nutrition Security team focusing on ways to better learn from and share practical experience on eradicating poverty through empowering women and girls. She focuses on learning from programming and using that learning to improve impact.

With four years of on-the-ground experience in West Africa, 10 years of development experience, and academic publications on community engagement and the human element in food security in Africa, Emily is especially interested in community-led development. She has experience in food security, nutrition, health, governance, and gender programming, and has a BA in International Studies from the University of Chicago, and a Masters' in Public Policy in International and Global Affairs from the Harvard Kennedy School.