Supporting Vital Livelihoods and Increasing COVID-19 Prevention Awareness

June 30, 2020

SANA'A, Yemen –  As a response to the quickening spread of COVID-19 across Yemen, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is working to ensure Yemen’s most vulnerable populations such as women and youth are better able to protect themselves from the virus. UNDP recently launched two major initiatives that will impact Yemeni’s lives: a livelihood-support campaign and a five-governorate community awareness raising campaign around COVID-19 prevention measures.

COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on Yemen – a country that is already suffering from the world’s worst humanitarian and development crisis – by forcing thousands of micro, small and medium business to shutter, leaving many with nothing. However, through quick UNDP action and assessment of COVID-19’s potential social and economic impact in Yemen, the organization is helping thousands of Yemenis continue to operate their businesses and earn an income during this critical time.

Grants provided by UNDP will help minimize the long-term social and economic impact for both business owners and communities of having businesses shutter. The funds will help the businesses stay open and, to ensure their safety during operation, UNDP is also providing emergency kits containing supplies to help fight COVID-19.

The continued operations of thousands of businesses will help ensure many – particularly the already vulnerable populations – will be able to care for their families. The income will allow them to purchase critical necessities like food, water, shelter, and medicines, possibly helping stave off COVID-19 and other rampant communicable diseases. For a country already facing the world’s worst humanitarian and development crisis, this support is critical.

“One of UNDP’s priorities is to continue helping Yemenis slow the virus’ spread and to provide social and economic protection for vulnerable populations by establishing and supporting existing micro, small and medium businesses. We want to not only help them stay in operation, we also want to help strengthen them to build a stronger Yemen in the future,” said Surayo Buzurukova, UNDP Yemen’s Team Leader for the Governance and Rule of Law Unit.

In tandem, UNDP is working closely with local authorities and civil society partners on a COVID-19 awareness raising campaign. As COVID-19 has spread, so has misinformation – boosting fear and panic among citizens. The campaign is reaching targeted communities through local radio stations and popular social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to dispel COVID-19 rumors.  

The awareness raising campaign also focuses on conflict and gender-sensitivity issues that may result – or possibly already existed – from COVID-19 stress by addressing social, economic, and sociological impacts on Yemeni families.

All activities are supported by the UNDP Rapid Response Facility (RRF) and will include additional activities such as COVID-19 trainings and digital education via various channels to ensure the messages reach as many diverse groups as possible throughout the country. “The activities will help Yemen to better anticipate, mitigate and redress the inequitable health and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Buzurukova concluded.

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