From Depression into a Successful Banana Retailer

Banana Retailer
Mohammed starting his morning with hope of a good business day

Due to the ongoing conflict, many young people in Yemen lost their jobs and businesses. In addition, many entrepreneurs around the country lost the vision of a better life for themselves and families. Mohammed Salem Al Dalak , a 27 – year –old young man from Lawdar District in Abyan Governorate, is one of those who have been affected by the ongoing conflict that has subverted his dreams of becoming a successful businessman. 

Highlights

  • Mohammed's income increased from 1,000 YER to around 20,000 YER after two months of starting his business.
  • 514 business projects were successfully launched under ERRY Joint Program, 362 of which were individual projects while 152 were joint projects
  • A total of 220 projects were opened in Hajjah & Hodeidah while 294 were opened in Abyan
  • A total number of 1322 men and 377 women direct beneficiaries and 11893 indirect beneficiaries from the UNDP 3x6 approach which is part of the EU-funded Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen ERRY Joint programme.

Before the current conflict occurred, Mohammed used to be a banana retailer; he used to have adequate income to provide the needs of his family that consists of 12 dependents. However, the prevailing war has abruptly effected Mohammed’s life, damaged part of his house along with the lorry he mobilized for his business. Mohammed had lost everything and consequently started working with a banana salesman in the region for a daily pay of 1000 YER. 

 “Before the project, I used to get a petty cash of 1000 YER a day by working with one of the banana salesman. The money I used to get was not either enough to pay 800,000 debts I used for renovating my house nor was it enough to pay the basic needs of my family.” Mohammed Explained

Mohammed benefited from the UNDP 3x6 approach as part of the EU-funded Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen ERRY Joint programme that targeted 18 districts in four governorates including Lawdar District. First, Mohammed generated income and saved capital through the rapid employment activities (Cash for work), besides receiving Life and Business Skills training in complement to his income generating activity. 40% of his received income was saved and deposited into a saving account in Alkuraimi Exchange Company. Mohammed then initiated his banana business plan. After confirming that his proposed project idea are economically viable, Mohammed saved capital was tripled through a grant of 900$ from ERRY Project implemented by UNDP.

Mohammed used the received amount of cash to revive his old business which he describes as the lifeblood of his family. “ At the beginning of the project , Net profit per day ranges between 8000 to 12000 Yemeni YER, but now, after more than two months since I started my business, the average net profit per day is between 12 to 20 thousand YER” Mohammed Reiterated.

As a result of the project support, Mohammed was able to pay for debts he used for renovating his house fixing the damaged lorry. “Within two months, I was able to repay 650,000 YER of my debt” Mohammed Said. 

ERRY reopened the door that was shut in front of Mohammed of becoming a great business man.  Along with his previous skills in business, he also gained many other skills of customer services, financial management, and business expansion. “ERRY Joint programme has given me a golden chance of becoming even better of who I used to be, I have better skills now, and I am more ambitious and confident. I will use the skills I got to make sure that the door of success and prosperity will always be open” Mohammed concluded.

Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen (ERRY) programme is a joint-initiative funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by FAO, ILO, UNDP and WFP in four governorates in Yemen (Hajjah, Hodeidah, Lahj and Abyan). The three-year joint programme aims to enhance the resilience and self-reliance of crisis-affected rural communities through support to livelihoods stabilization, food security, local governance, social cohesion and improved access to sustainable energy.