Yemen continues to be one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Eight years of devastating conflict, economic deterioration and the collapse of public services has left two-thirds of the population, 21.6 million Yemenis, dependent on humanitarian aid and protection for survival. Houses, farms, hospitals, schools and water systems have been damaged or destroyed. Approximately 14 per cent of the population (4.5 million people) are internally displaced while 17 million people are unable to consume adequate food, putting their lives or livelihoods in jeopardy.
An unprecedented six-month truce between the parties to the conflict in 2022 significantly reduced fighting, civilian casualties, and conflict-related displacement, and brought hope to millions of Yemenis. But while the military conflict has quieted, the economic conflict continues pushing the price of food and basic goods up and further out of the reach of many and the political situation remains extremely volatile. Continued support from the international community will be crucial for two-thirds of the population who rely on that assistance.
60,143people benefited from our education programme
509,419people benefited from our food security programme
72,588people benefited from our shelter programme
46,532people benefited from our camp management programme
42,860people benefited from our ICLA programme
380,533people benefited from our WASH programme
34,670people benefited from other NRC activities
NRC assists people who have fled their homes, the communities who host them, and those who return to rebuild their lives.
We are often one of the first organisations to respond after a crisis. We not only provide this critical emergency aid, but also assist with more durable solutions, such as securing new livelihoods. Wherever possible, we use local products and labour, recognising the skills that exist within the communities we support.
We respond to needs in a holistic manner. Alongside programming, we use advocacy approaches to available legal frameworks and encourage states, parties to conflict and local authorities to uphold their legal obligations towards people affected by displacement.
The education sector is one of the most neglected areas within Yemen’s humanitarian crisis. Displacement, attacks and misuse of schools have deprived roughly 2.7 million children of education. It has also left half of all teachers without pay. School-aged children make up an estimated 33 per cent of the overall population in need of assistance. Out-of-school children not only suffer a loss of educational opportunities, but also valuable social networks which provide protection, support, a sense of normality, and hope for the future. We focus on children who have had their education interrupted or denied, via the provision of multiple, tailored pathways back to learning for displacement and conflict affected children, adolescents and youth.
NRC is recognised as a leading education partner in Yemen. We work with children, teachers, communities, ministries and other authorities, as well as national and international education partners to ensure children in Yemen are able to learn in a safe and protective environment.
We do this by:
- promoting children’s right to education via community mobilisation, awareness raising and advocacy
- ensuring learning environments are safe and accessible to all children by repairing old and damaged classrooms and constructing learning spaces, latrines, and handwashing facilities
- incentivising, equipping and training teachers and other education staff to provide quality, safe and inclusive education
- ensuring all children have the resources they need to fully participate in lessons through the provision of teaching, learning and recreational materials
- establishing multiple pathways back to formal education through providing a range of non-formal and technical and vocational education opportunities for children, adolescents and youth who may need more specialised or intensive education support
- activating or reinvigorating parent-teacher associations and other community support structures, to promote community ownership and sustainability
- advocating for the right to education through clusters and different education platforms at the Yemen and global level
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
A single document can determine the future of an entire family. Birth certificates and IDs open up access to health care, protect and secure rights, and enable children to enrol in education. But millions of displaced people in Yemen do not have the necessary legal documents, blocking them from accessing many services, and are often not aware of their rights or local legal structures. Similarly, access to Housing, Land and Property (HLP) rights is limited among displaced people, exposing them to various protection risks. Insecure tenure remains a major challenge in Yemen, and displaced Yemenis are under constant threat of eviction.
Since early 2018, to fill a significant gap in these areas, NRC has provided programmes that help Yemeni people—particularly women and children—access legal, civil documentation (LCD) and HLP rights.
Our ICLA team is currently focused on:
- awareness-raising amongst people on their legal rights related to LCD and HLP rights
- provision of legal counselling and assistance to people to help them access critical legal and civil documentation
- providing legal assistance to displaced people and negotiating with landowners and other stakeholders to ensure people access HLP rights and do not face eviction
- establishing or strengthening community-based protection networks and dispute resolution committees
- providing technical support and training to clusters on Housing, Land and Property
- capacity building of local authorities, including the Civil Registry Authority and the community leaders
- advocating for positive policy changes that affect peoples’ rights
Protection from violence
With activities initiated in 2019, and formalised as a country core competency in 2022, NRC Yemen delivers programmes that aim at reducing, mitigating and responding to protection risks faced by the population in Yemen with the most severe ones being threats to life, safety, and security, lack of civil documentation, Housing, land, and property (HLP) rights, forced evictions, protracted and multiple displacement, specific risks to women and girls and child recruitment.
In 2023, 17.7 million people are considered in need of a form of Protection Assistance (2023 Protection HNO) as Yemen is facing a complex protection crisis, with over eight years of conflict with the associated long-term consequences of the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure, marginalisation, exclusion, discriminatory norms and practices, explosive ordnance contamination, and a large number of internally displaced people. The socioeconomic impacts associated with the deteriorating economy have also increased pre-existing vulnerabilities and stretched already weakened institutions and public services. Protection from Violence (PfV) provides support through three interlinked outcomes:
- Individual protection services: General Protection Case Management (PCM), Individual Protection Assistance (IPA), Cash & Voucher assistance for protection outcomes, protective accompaniment, Psychological First aid (PFA), referrals and facilitated cash referrals.
- Community level protection services: Community based protection networks, trainings and regular engagement, community level protection monitoring and analysis of trends, peaceful coexistence & community initiative (pilot project).
- Protection leadership and evidence-based advocacy: Protection monitoring and advocacy, national protection cluster co-coordination role.
The NRC protection team coordinates with other sectors to provide an effective, rapid response to support at risk individuals in coping with their specific protection situation and building up their resilience.
Livelihoods and food security
The Ukraine crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic have hit the Yemeni economy hard, exacerbating extremely fragile living conditions. Socio-economic conditions have deteriorated further. The already weak public infrastructure has limited capacity to cope with extreme climate change events and other natural disasters. Exchange rates, fuel shortages, a rise in global food prices and food imports have negatively impacted food availability, access and affordability. For example, Yemen imports 40 per cent of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia. As a result, there has been a significant restriction on grain supply, and significant increase in food prices. Wheat prices increased by 35 per cent compared to their prices at the beginning of the war.
Malnutrition and hunger are rife and an estimated 2.2 million children are malnourished. More than 80 per cent of Yemenis now live below the poverty line, putting basic goods beyond the reach of many families.
The objective of NRC’s Livelihood and Food Security programming is to protect the rights, dignity and livelihoods of vulnerable people affected by the conflict and displacement in Yemen, in addition to saving lives.
NRC uses a market systems approach to respond to emergencies and promote sustainable livelihoods where market systems are functional. In emergency situations, we support improved access to safe food by:
- distributing in-kind food baskets where markets are not fully functional
- providing cash and voucher assistance where markets are functional
We support livelihood restoration and resilience building by:
- providing training in modern production technologies and livelihood kits (agricultural inputs, tools and fishing kits) to small-scale farmers and fishery communities
- providing training in livestock management and provision of small ruminants to vulnerable households to increase their asset base
- supporting rehabilitation and/or installation of agricultural infrastructure including solar irrigation systems
- providing vocational skills training to youth and women to support viable market driven self-employment activities based on a thorough understanding of the local market conditions
- providing business management training and start-up capital for youth and female entrepreneurs
Shelter and settlements
Millions of people in Yemen continue to lack access to basic services, and have significant shelter and Non-Food Item (NFI) needs due to new and protracted displacement and ongoing economic deterioration.
An estimated 7.5 million people reside in inadequate shelter conditions and without access to essential household items, which is a 2 per cent increase since 2022. The increase in needs is primarily due to the displacement of people in early 2022 before the six-month truce, along with the impact of heavy rainfall, flooding, and droughts which affected 517,00 people. NRC contributes to address the shelter adequacy issues that stem from a range of root causes including inadequate protection from the elements owing to the emergency nature of the shelter, unaffordability of repairs due to insufficient income or lack of access to required materials in the local markets, insufficient security of tenure and ownership documentation.
The NRC Yemen shelter team works on improving the living conditions for thousands of conflict-affected families by providing shelter/NFIs solutions that are adapted and contextualised based on specific needs. NRC seeks to ensure shelters are safe, secure, and designed to resist hazards and provide privacy. Wherever possible, we use a market-based approach to provide shelter assistance as well as using local suppliers and labour, helping local economies to recover.
We invest in creating safe, dignified and appropriate living conditions by:
- providing life-saving emergency shelter kits and non-food items
- constructing transitional shelter
- constructing/rehabilitating the homes of returnees
- providing cash for rent
- providing settlement infrastructure
Camp coordination and camp management (CCCM)
An estimated 1,529,629 internally displaced Yemenis have settled in 2,316 sites, requiring support to ensure their protection and basic needs are met. Spontaneous and relatively small sites are the most common camp-like setting in Yemen. Across all of Yemen, CCCM partners currently cover only 777 sites out of 2,316 sites, leaving a considerable gap in coverage. Access restrictions and limited resources are the notable drivers of this minimal coverage. This has led to poor living conditions and minimal service provision in many sites. Tensions between IDPs and communities are increasing, and land tenure on which many sites are established is weak.
NRC CCCM teams aim to improve coordination structures, information management systems, and access to equitable services and assistance in displacement sites with a focus on moving towards durable solutions with full participation of the displaced and host communities. Our camp management team is focused on:
- supervising, monitoring and coordinating safe and dignified access to multi-sectoral service at site level
- establishing camp governance mechanisms and enabling community participation
- ensuring the care and maintenance of camp infrastructure
- managing information on the camp population’s changing needs
- disseminating information both to the camp population and other stakeholders
- participating in strategic planning with relevant stakeholders around issues of contingency planning, environment, exit strategy
- advocating on behalf of/with the camp community to external stakeholders
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion
For the displacement-affected population in Yemen, sustainable access to sufficient and safe water, appropriate sanitation facilities and living in a healthier environment are some of the most urgent needs. Prolonged conflict amplified by flooding, environmental degradation and other climate change related effects has damaged and overstretched capacity of water supply infrastructure. This coupled with lack of adequate sanitation facilities and poor hygiene practices has increased the risk of water-related diseases and other public health and protection risks.
To address this, our WASH team, in collaboration with other sectors, aims to address acute WASH needs and reduce protection risks through delivery of life-saving assistance and restoring and sustaining existing WASH facilities which are inclusive.
We save lives and prevent diseases by:
- rehabilitating and constructing water supply systems and facilitating their governance to improve sustainability
- strengthening community-based water resource management to improve resilience and climate change adaptation
- using, supporting and developing markets to meet the affected population's WASH needs
- promoting positive hygiene practices through hygiene promotion campaigns with the aim of changing behaviour
- providing inclusive sanitation facilities with appropriate disposal and treatment mechanisms
- improving WASH services in schools to strengthen better learning outcomes in collaboration with the education sector
- improving living environments through community and government supported solid waste management
Aside from the day-to-day advocacy and influencing work embedded in the delivery of our core competencies described above, NRC is also strategically placed to influence broader local, national and international discussions, policies and practices that impact the humanitarian situation in Yemen. NRC actively engages in or co-chairs key coordination mechanisms including the Humanitarian Country Team, the Humanitarian Access Working Group, and the NGO Advocacy Working Group to name a few.
We base our advocacy and influencing on the needs of the communities we work with as expressed directly to us by them and elevate their voices into decision-making spaces. The most critical themes running across our advocacy include access to aid and protection and the removal of barriers to self-reliance and durable solutions. Our advocacy is also designed to help ensure a principled, efficient, effective and accountable humanitarian response.
About NRC in Yemen
- European Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations (ECHO)
- European Union
- USAID BHA
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)
- Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
- Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC)
- The World Food Programme (WFP)
- United Nations Population Fund
- Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - Yemen Humanitarian Funds
- German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO)
- Education Cannot Wait