Emergency Social Protection Enhancement and COVID-19 Response Project


Project Summary

The Emergency Social Protection Enhancement and COVID-19 Response Project (ESPECRP) supports geographically bundled interventions of nutrition-sensitive cash transfers and temporary employment, while also improving access to sustainable livelihoods, key services, and economic opportunities for areas affected by hunger, malnutrition, and climate related shocks. The project is in line with the World Bank’s integrated approach to improve food security resilience and nutrition for Yemenis through: 

  • Providing cash assistance and much-needed services for vulnerable households that are most at risk of malnutrition.
  • Creating employment opportunities for vulnerable populations, improving productivity, strengthening social cohesion, and responding to the anticipated effects of climate change.
  • Building valuable socio-economic assets for local communities that help improve access to key services and small infrastructure.
  • Financing MSMEs affected by the conflict and COVID-19 crisis to support economic activities that strengthen the domestic food market and improve food security and livelihoods.

Funded and supported by the World Bank’s IDA, the US$ 232.9 million ESPECRP is implemented by the Social Fund for Development (SFD), the Public Works Project (PWP), and the Small and Micro Enterprise Promotion Service (SMEPS) in partnership with UNDP Yemen.

Women’s Empowerment

Yemen has significantly faced challenges with regard to women’s access to education, health, productive employment and food security, they are disproportionately affected by the indirect and often lasting effects of conflict. Women-headed households are at higher risk of food insecurity and malnutrition due to their limited work opportunities and reduced access to productive resources, services, and rural institutions.

The ESPECRP will ensure that gender sensitive interventions are mainstreamed across all project components creating pathways for women’s employment and participation in society and playing a key role in building resilience to shocks, improving livelihoods and mitigating social constraints. This is relevant in the current country context as empowering women’s full productive potential can yield enormous benefits in reducing gender gaps in education, employment and access to services.

The ESPECRP aims to provide Yemeni women with nutrition-sensitive cash transfers, and target at least 30% with gender sensitive temporary employment, and increased access to basic services and economic opportunities to food-insecure populations affected by COVID-19. This will not only help them to generate income, but by economically empowering women, we can help to improve household living conditions.

Additionally, training and awareness raising opportunities will support women and girls by focusing on the development of new skills, health and hygiene knowledge, including COVID-19 preventive measures. All cash-for-work employees will also complete compulsory training and awareness raising on occupational health and safety and reporting any case of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse to ensure the safety and respect to all workers.


  • Nearly 61,000 (20% women & 15% internally displaced persons) people provided with work and wages to buy essential food and non-food needs.
  • More than 775,000 people benefited from access to water, food, health, and roads.
  • More than 77,400 cubic meters of water schemes rehabilitated and constructed. 
  • 3,215 hectares of farmland protected to maintain and improve food production.
  • 142 kilometers of roads improved to provide safe access to food, water, health, and education.
  • More than 57,000 people provided with access to safe sanitation to prevent the spread of diseases.
  • Almost 3,000 women health educators trained and employed in nutrition promotion.
  • More than 90,000 households (143,254 children & 97,233 women) benefited from cash and nutrition services.
  • 254 Village Saving and Loans Associations established to generate income and livelihoods.
  • Almost, 5,100 small and micro businesses supported to improve income and food production.
  • 20 business associations and 582 supply chain enablers supported to build resilient local food systems and markets.