US$450 Million in IDA grants to fund the critical health and nutrition needs and expand support for key social service institutions
Washington, January 17, 2016 - The World Bank Group announced today two new grants for Yemen totaling US$450 million to provide emergency support for the most vulnerable segment of the population in all of the country’s 22 governorates. The new grants from IDA, the Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, will finance two nationwide projects aimed at providing vulnerable women and children with access to critical health and nutrition services, income opportunities for the poorest households, and the essential social services that millions of Yemenis rely on.
“It is vital that children do not miss out on critical vaccinations and nutrition, and that communities across Yemen have the income support and access to services to meet their basic needs,” said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Group Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa. “It is also essential that the institutions that provide these basic services are preserved – so that when peace arrives, Yemenis are ready to rebuild their lives and country.”
A US$250 million grant will expand the ongoing Emergency Crisis Response Project to provide income opportunities for two million highly impoverished Yemenis, including women, youth and internally displaced people. The grant will further strengthen the Social Fund for Development (SFD) and the Public Works Project (PWP), two key Yemeni institutions that deliver services at the community level, now critical for building up the resilience of Yemenis to cope with the impacts of the ongoing conflict.
“Over the past two decades the SFD and PWP have improved the lives of millions of Yemenis but the conflict has impacted their ability to operate,” said Afrah Al-Ahmadi, World Bank Senior Social Protection Specialist. “These projects, which have been supported by IDA over the past 20 years, will provide the funds that will allow these critical institutions to resume and expand services, while creating opportunities for larger-scale employment”.
A second US$200 million grant will fund the Emergency Health and Nutrition Project which aims to maintain the capacity of the existing health systems, while providing health and nutrition services to an estimated 7 million Yemenis. As a result of the conflict, less than half of Yemeni health facilities are still functional, and increasing pockets of preventable diseases are emerging and malnutrition rates are soaring. The health and nutrition project announced today builds on IDA’s support to the health sector over the past 15 years.
“Health services in Yemen have been greatly affected by the conflict, with malnutrition rates among children steadily deteriorating and now estimated to be the highest in the world,” said World Bank Health Specialist, Moustafa Abdalla. “This new funding builds on very successful operations that last year during very difficult circumstances managed to immunize 1.6 million children, and reached more than one million with maternal and children health services.”
The Bank has built successful partnerships with the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the World Health Organization, relying on their extensive field presence in Yemen for the management of the projects. The Bank’s technical experts have worked with these organizations—and with local institutions—to design these projects. The Bank will continue to provide technical expertise to guide the implementation of the projects and ensure they remain responsive to evolving challenges.