Sana’a, March 30, 2010 — The Yemen Social Fund for Development Phase IV project has been approved by the Board of Directors on March 30, 2010 for the amount of US$60.0 million.
The proposed Grant aims at improving access to basic services, enhancing economic opportunities, and reducing the vulnerability of the poor. By assisting in the scale-up of the Social Fund for Development (SFD) activities, the project will contribute to achieving the national poverty reduction and development goals of Yemen.
The project will finance four major programs: (a) Community and Local Development program for the amount of US$25 million to improve access to basic social services. Under this program, SFD will continue to implement community-based sub-projects in various sectors, while building the capacity of local authorities and engaging select districts in implementing development projects; (b) Small and Micro Enterprises Development program with funding of US$5 million to support the overall program to strengthen and build the capacity of local microfinance providers; and to actively promote entry into the market by creating an enabling environment and by encouraging the establishment of new financial service providers managed on a private sector basis by international investors with strong technical partners; (c) Capacity-Building program in the amount of US$5 million to support the other three programs through a focus on capacity-building of local entities, including local and central government bodies, NGOs, and communities, as well as enhancing the management capacity of SFD itself and; (d) Labor-Intensive Works program for an amount of US$25 million to provide a multi-annual cash-for-work safety net to chronically poor households to bridge their consumption gap especially during shocks, while building the productive assets of communities and households as part of integrated local development plans.
Considering the important role of Yemeni CSOs in development, the project will also support participation by a wide range of stakeholders in sub-project preparation and design, including communities, local government authorities, NGOs, and sector officials. By establishing community groups, and promoting awareness of the importance of electing representatives who will serve the whole community, the SFD will contribute to reviving the traditional systems of social capital and self-help in Yemen.
"The Social Fund for Development has proven very effective in supporting community-level projects throughout Yemen. Such projects, whether infrastructure improvements or provision of services, are key to reducing poverty and making progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The SFD is a Yemeni program which is very effectively managed by a Yemeni institution" said Trina Haque; Lead Economist at the World bank’s Middle East & North Africa department. "The Bank's contribution is provided within the context of a broad partnership between Yemen and a group of 15 supportive donors. We are very pleased to be part of this effort”, she added.
The SFD has built a strong partnership framework in the course of the past 12 years of implementation. During this time successive impact evaluations have provided evidence that SFD provides social and economic services to the poorest populations of Yemen in response to community-driven demand, while operating as a transparent and efficient implementing entity.
As a result SFD now enjoys support from 15 financiers, from both the region as well as among traditional donors. It has also been able to scale up its program in each successive phase, reaching more than US$1.1 billion in Phase III. The expectation is that overall financing for the Phase IV program will also reach similar levels.