Culture & Society
Written By: Dr. Fathia Bahran*
Article Date: Jan 10, 2011 - 12:04:48 AM
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Yemen Office, organized a workshop, last week, under the patronage of his Excellency, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Mr. Abdul Alkarim Al-Arhabi, titled, “Sharing Knowledge and Best Practices Stories on Rural Poverty Reduction in Yemen”.
The objectives of the workshop were to present an overview of rural poverty status, and key challenges faced by poor rural women and men in Yemen today, to exchange knowledge, experiences and best practices related to rural development and poverty reduction, to share ideas and analysis of key factors of success and shortcomings associated with the implementation of Rural Development and poverty reduction programs/projects, to develop constructive recommendations for improvement and scaling up/replication of the best practices; to identify the possibilities, and ways of future joint work among all the partners/projects involved in the same areas of intervention.
The workshop brought together 45 participants representing projects and programs involved in rural poverty reduction funded by IFAD, WB, UNDP, SFD, and Government. It was also attended by representatives from the Agriculture Cooperative Union, the Fisheries Cooperative Union, NGOs, Sana’a University, the National Institute for Administrative Sciences, and key staff from the relevant ministries: Ministry of Planning and International cooperation, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, and Ministry of Fish Wealth.
Eight Presentations were given in the workshop. IFAD presentation provided an overview on rural poverty in Yemen, exploring its trends, challenges, opportunities, IFAD experience in rural poverty reduction in Yemen, its lessons learned, and its new direction. UNDP’s presentation was on Community-based Natural Resources Management: Case Studies from UNDP Yemen. It provided case studies from protected areas in Al-Haswa in Aden and Socotra that showed the impact of this project on the lives of the beneficiaries in forms of household revenue increase, job creation, and rehabilitating grazing fields for local farmers. Professor Mohammed Al-Hebshi, from Sana’a University, gave a presentation titled, “Success Stories from Yemen: IFAD Experience in Enhancing Food Security”. Al-Dhala Community Resources Management Project, an IFAD funded project provided a presentation on its activities and successes and brought one of its beneficiaries who described to the audience the impact of the project on his life after he was provided vocational training in electricity and became a businessman with a workshop and two employees, with plans to expand his business. The Social Fund for Development’s presentation was on its “contribution to Food Security in Yemen: The case of the Labor-Intensive Works Program” in which it provided some stories of citizens describing the impact of this program on their income. Dhamar Participatory Rural Development Project, another IFAD funded project, also gave a presentation on its experience and brought one of its beneficiaries, a bee keeper, who explained to the audience how training in bee keeping increased his honey production and therefore duplicated his income many times and changed him into a very good income farmer.
The Economic and Media Studies Center gave a presentation on the role of civil society in poverty reduction recommending more engagement of NGOs by Government and donors given the high potential of success for interventions carried out by these NGOs given their advantage of being among the community and therefore knowing better how to deal with its challenges.
Finally, the Women Development Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation gave a presentation on eight projects implemented/coordinated by the Unit in rural women development, their success and impact, and the recommendations for improvement.
The presentations were followed by a general discussion and questions to the presenters. The main issue raised by the commentators was the reasons of increasing poverty level in Yemen in general and rural areas, and solutions. A recommendation for donors was to focus on physical interventions more than spending resources on studies, analysis of the situation for every intervention since the situation is obvious.
* IFAD’s Country Program Officer- Yemen Near East and North Africa Division Programme Management Depart.
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