LFT Yemen – the start of Mothernomics
Living in one of the world’s least developed countries, and with more than five years of internal conflict, Yemen ranked 138 out of 179 countries on the Human Development Index in 2019. The siege Yemeni people face has led to considerable challenge in securing a suitable income and has left an outstanding lack of empowerment. Acute poverty in Yemen means that:
- 70% live under the poverty line – defined as less than $2 per day;
- 27.4% live in food poverty – defined as regularly having less than one square meal a day;
- 60% of the male adult population are unemployed and lack any reliable form of welfare support; and
- 73% of adults are illiterate, with an even higher rate amongst women.
This couple with ongoing war means that those already disadvantaged by poverty are being further left behind. One particular group is widowed mothers and children, whom in Yemen are subject to systematic violence and abuse.
Our project chooses to focus particularly on widows, because:
- the cultural environment in Yemen blocks the role of women outside their homes. This leaves them without economic and political rights, and without education, thereby, undermining a large number of the population in its contribution to the overall development.
- Denying women their rights and education results in cascading problems. Poor households continue to have more children as the women’s role is seen mainly as child-rearing, and her lack of education means that she has few options in the labour force and for her own economic power.
- In these settings, women especially on becoming widowed, often lack basic economic security and legal rights. The low value that society places on women in Yemen is compounded during period of conflict and disaster when social groups and norms are disturbed, and widows are often left unaccompanied.
Our goal is to create skills that will enable widowed mothers to have more economic power and income opportunities and to learn and improve their lives to continuously enjoy enhanced access to economic opportunities. Our aim is that 30 widowed mothers will have market relevant vocational skills (sewing, confectionaries & pastry making, and coiffure & beautification) complemented with entrepreneurship training and financial grants, assets and technical support to start their own business.
We will proceed with this work in six stages:
- Recruiting mothers and identifying candidates for empowerment through a survey tool. This enabled us to collect data about the widowed mothers and means we have selected the most vulnerable widows who are ready to transform their lives and bring more independence for themselves and their families;
- Provide skills through training courses. The training courses will be held at a specialised training centre in (sewing, confectionaries & pastry making, coiffure & beautification) according to the preferences and underlying capabilities widowed mothers. This is due to start in June 2021;
- Sponsoring orphaned boys and girls. Through the training period, orphans will be sponsored by a grant to help the targeted household to bear the basic expenses of providing food, hygiene, and support the widows to have full involvement in the training course;
- Provide tools of trade and materials for business start-up. After completion of the training programmes and successful attainment in both the ongoing and final assessments, mothers who pass both will be loaned the necessary tools for their trade and basic materials to help them start their own business.
- Marketing and access to markets. We will actively market and promote the widowed mothers’ products by contacting wholesale and retailers and assessing the market needs for improved market access. In addition, we will help the beneficiaries in marketing their products through online platforms using social media.
- Continued monitoring and evaluation. In order to ensure that the project reaches its optimal audiences and impact, the activities will be monitored and the results will be evaluated. In terms of monitoring their start-up businesses, there will be a periodical visit to conduct regular support checks on progress towards achieving independence and viability in their business.
I wish all 30 mothers embarking on this program the very best and God willing look forward to welcoming them to the community of Mothernomics mothers who are able to independently support themselves and their orphaned children.