WASHINGTON, April 2, 2013 – Unemployment rates among young people in Yemen can reach as high as 40 percent and a new World Bank project is designed to help by providing work opportunities for unemployed youth and women and improving access to basic social services in poor communities.
The US$25 million grant approved today will scale up the Labor-Intensive Works program of Yemen’s Social Fund for Development. Supported by the World Bank since 2008, the fund has been providing temporary employment opportunities to poor households including during the food, economic and political crises.
“The project is designed to reach those most neglected among the Yemeni population namely young people and women,” said Yasser El-Gammal, World Bank Social Protection and Labor Sector Manager for the Middle East and North Africa region. “It also focuses on youth employment and nutrition which are national priorities.”
By creating opportunities to improve public infrastructure, the new project will provide income and work experience to unemployed youth between the age of18 and 30. It will also provide cash-for-work for youth and women who deliver education and nutrition services. Selected participants will be trained and hired for up to two years to provide nutrition, education and literacy training services at both community and health facility levels. By engaging in the program, participants will contribute to the development of their communities, improve social services, and promote the demand for these services.
“Unemployment has reached rates as high as 40 percent among young people in Yemen,” said Wael Zakout, World Bank Yemen Country Manager. “This project will improve the lives of unemployed Yemeni youth through jobs and improved services. It will also increase their chances of securing jobs in the future.”
The program will create around 420,000 days of employment in improving public infrastructure; 750,000 days of work in education and literacy services for unemployed youth; and 460,000 days of work in community-based nutrition services for female health workers. Around 26,000 children and 9,000 adults, of whom 70 percent will be women, will learn to read and receive some basic education. In addition, 75,000 acutely malnourished children will be treated and receive nutrition services.
This project is financed by the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) which was established in 1960 to help the world’s poorest countries by providing interest-free loans (called ‘credits’) and grants that fund projects to boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries. Resources from IDA bring positive change to 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960 IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged around $15 billion over the last 3 years.