UNDP restoring community services through social entrepreneurship led by youthAug 24, 2015
UNDP, Millennium Development Foundation and For All Foundation are launching three social businesses in Sana’a, which will directly support 53 vulnerable youth, including 30 women, with alternative economic opportunities that will benefit the affected population in Nuqum and Tahreer areas.
Since March 2015, Yemen is experiencing a protracted crisis with an estimated 80% of its population being currently in need of humanitarian assistance. Livelihoods have been profoundly disrupted with mass scale unemployment and closure of businesses due to insecurity and the imposed economic blockade that limited vital commercial imports and exports.
The social businesses will offer charcoal ironing and garbage collection services to the residents, mitigating the impact of prolonged electricity outages and mounting solid waste, in addition to establishing a community service center to provide delivery of essential goods and commodities such as cooking gas, drinking water, and mobile phones charging.
Charcoal ironing shops will employ 27 vulnerable women and provide them with income-generating activities. These charcoal operated irons will mitigate the impact of electricity outages, offer alternative economic opportunities, and contribute to improve the livelihoods of this initiative for beneficiaries. Furthermore, 11 youth will be provided with special local made bicycles to collect and safely dispose of solid waste, in cooperation with local authorities and Cleanliness Fund, collecting nominal fees from the targeted population in exchange for these services. Essential goods and commodities have become difficult to secure from the markets in view to the current circumstances. In this respect, the Community Social Centre will employ 15 youth to deliver cooking gas, drinking water, and mobile phones charging to the community, using local designed bicycles. Building the resilience of businesses to sustain shocks through a social angle while ensuring that critical services are maintained at the community-level to stabilize livelihoods and foster economic self-reliance.
“As youth are drawn into conflict and poverty, social enterprises offer them the opportunity to restore their livelihoods and to give hope to their communities,” said Mikiko Tanaka, UNDP Country Director, during the launching ceremonies.
“I lost my job in April. The company I was working for has been closed, and it was not able to pay our salaries. I always wanted to start my own business so this is an opportunity for me to earn a dignity in my life. We cannot stay home doing nothing and only wait for charity,” Najwa, a young entrepreneur from Nuqum said.
As part of its emergency livelihoods response, UNDP is promoting a social entrepreneurship to support the private sector to create new jobs and generate a wider social impact that will contribute to the immediate economic recovery efforts and to building up resilience of Yemenis to better cope with shocks.
Farah Abdessamad, Programme Specialist
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