Written By: Fernando Carvajal*
Article Date: Jul 10, 2012 - 12:11:50 PM
Three years ago a family, led by the women of the household, organized
a small food collection initiative driven by youth for the month of Ramadan.
This small endeavor managed to inspire a handful of friends and business acquaintances who helped feed over 660 families in Sana’a
and Taiz that Ramadan.
As of April 2012 this small project turned into an official organization dedicated to serving society by contributing with an annual food drive to help food insecure families in six governorates.
Youth Endeavors Foundation (Hemmat Shabab) has just launched its fourth Ramadan food drive with the help of Prime Minister Mohammed Salem BaSundwa this past Monday, with the aim to help as many Yemeni families as possible this holy month of Ramadan. Their initiative forms phase one of the National Food Bank project which will set up food collection centers in six governorates after Ramadan.
But its primary goal is to encourage ordinary Yemenis to volunteer and help
the less fortunate with the most basic of needs, food. The project was launched under the slogan “A Yemeni Solution for a Yemeni Crisis”.
Both Hemmat Shabab and PM BaSundwa challenged Yemeni youth, during the press conference announcing the program, to create their own initiatives in order to maximize the assistance provided to food insecure families nationwide.
Although many donor organizations, and the United Arab Emirates, have pledged millions of dollars to tackle the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Hemmat Shabab believe that dependency of foreign aid alone will not solve the crisis. International organizations recently announced up to 10 million Yemenis may be suffering from mal nutrition and near famine.
At a time when donor organization suffer from depleting budgets and
mounting priorities worldwide there is no possibility their work will make a huge impact during this crisis.
In addition, deteriorating security across the country will continue to make it nearly impossible for donor organizations to reach the most vulnerable people in conflict areas in the north or south of Yemen.
Food trucks are often hijacked en route to camps or distribution centers, and much food imported often goes rotten in warehouses waiting for the right time to deliver under secure conditions.
Because of such challenges the most reliable solution to this humanitarian crisis depends on local volunteers collecting and delivering food directly to those who need it most around their local community.
Food companies and neighbors can contribute to food security of ordinary families, keep unemployed Yemenis engaged in the community and strengthen corporate social responsibility across Yemen.
Direct engagement will also allow communities, and hopefully local Councils, to organize databases with the number of families in need, their specific location and varying degrees of need. Such data will also allow better coordination between local organizations and international donors who lack credible data on conditions in rural areas.
Hemmat Shabab believe it is up to ordinary Yemenis to move their country into a new direction. --------------- *Carvajal is the Head of Felix News Agency in Yemen
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