October 18, 2009 - In cooperation with the Social Welfare Fund, the World Bank Country Office in Sana’a organized on Sunday October 18, a Joint Consultative meeting with civil society organization with more than 65 participants to discuss the Institutional Support Project to be financed by the World Bank. The participants represented key Yemeni civil society organizations working in fields related to economic, social, human rights, gender, welfare, disability and youth empowerment. The event was also attended by, members of the academia, Parliament and the media.
The Joint Consultation was attended by H.E Dr. Amat Al Razaq Hummad, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, Mr. Benson Ateng, World Bank Yemen Country Manager, and Mansoor Al Fayadhi, Managing Director of the Social Welfare Fund. The consultation aimed at firstly: sharing with CSOs the support provided by the Bank in the area of Social Protection, in general, and in supporting the Government's effort to improve the Social Safety Net; secondly: to inform CSOs of the SWF mandate and approach in social protection and; thirdly: to consult with the participants on the proposed concept of the SWF Institutional Support Project.
The meeting included power point presentations on the Social Welfare Fund Mandate and activities, by Al Fayadhi. Ms. Afrah Al Ahmadi, Senior Human Development Specialist of the World Bank office introduced the Bank support to the government in Social Protection and introduction of the new Project Concept Note.
The new project has three components: Component 1- Institutional Development at the central and regional levels to strengthen service delivery at the district level, the level closest to the beneficiaries; Component 2- Strengthening SWF’s Beneficiary Development Role to increase beneficiaries’ access to strategic capacity building and income generation/ employment opportunities; and Component 3 - Project Management Support and Impact Evaluation to support project management, as well as the implementation of an impact evaluation study.
Mr. Benson Ateng, World Bank Country Manager welcomed the participants and noted the historic relation between the World Bank and Yemen and confirmed the announcement of World Bank support to Yemen in the form of grants and not loans until further notice. “More than 14 new or extended projects will be funded by the World Bank Group new Country Assistance Strategy through and IDA and IFC totaling US$480 million”, said Benson.
The Minister of Social Affairs, congratulated the Social Welfare Fund for the new World Bank support of US$10 million to build the capacity of its staff and provides equipment to its offices at the local districts and said in relation to consulting with Yemeni CSOs in particular, “I am confident that CSOs have a significant role to play in monitoring the implementation of projects”.
The participants expressed their appreciation to the World Bank for consulting with at the early processes of this new project and reminding the Bank to involve them in all other processes to make their contribution a sound and strong one.
The one key issue that resonates from the participants was the necessity of establishing a smaller group of key CSOs to work closely with the Bank on monitoring the progress of its projects.