Like many other villages in the Yemeni countryside, Al-Hamami village lacks many basic services on top of which is access to drinking water. This is an issue that is aggravated in the dry seasons and improves slightly during the rainy seasons, but only for a short period, as people do not have proper storages for rainwater. The villagers, mainly youth and women, go in pairs to fetch water from the bottom of the valley in a 5-hour journey at least once a day.
To improve access to drinking water and support vulnerable households in Al-Hamami and other villages of Bani Al-Awwam District- Hajjah Governorate, the Social Fund for Development (SFD) employed members of those vulnerable households in constructing their own rainwater harvesting reservoirs. Community members received cash assistance while securing their access to clean drinking water.
“I used to leave the village and look for work in the city to support my family and usually return for the farming seasons to work on my land”, said Mutahhar Hadi, a resident of the village and father of two. “Now, I had the opportunity to work with help of my family on building our own rainwater harvesting reservoir”, he added. Mutahhar’s 9-years-old son said, “it takes me and my elder sister half a day to go and fetch two 20-liter jerrycans on the back of the donkey from the spring down the valley.” He added; “We usually go in the morning in summer, but during school… we used to miss few classes… I hope won’t need to, when our tank is ready…”
Mohammed MUJAHED, the SFD Programme engineer, said “the rainwater harvesting reservoirs serves the community’s utmost priority, which is drinking water, and everybody is happy with it. Our plan involves allocating the amount of 383,000 YER in total (worth of around 830 USD) to every household to support them buy the necessary construction materials, support the work to build the water reservoirs, buy food and sometimes save some money aside, as well. Besides owning their reservoirs and getting the cash assistance, most of the workers appreciates the newly acquired skills in construction, which will help them secure future work opportunities”.
Esam Hadi, another resident of Al-Hamami mountainous village and a beneficiary of the rainwater harvesting reservoirs, expressed his deep gratitude saying; “It’s a dream come true...”. “We all worked on this reservoir as it addresses everyone’s eternal suffering”, said Esam. “I expect it to cover our needs for a good six months, that’s until the dry season is over, and rains return. More importantly, I am happy my 11-year-old daughter won’t have to miss school anymore to go through the water fetching journey”, Esam added.
The rainwater harvesting reservoirs project comes as part of the EU-funded and supported Social Protection for Community Resilience Project (SPCRP) to enhance the resilience of vulnerable communities in partnership with UN Development Programme (UNDP) to support 317 households in Bani Al-Awwam district alone.
The Social Protection for Community Resilience Project (SPCRP) is funded and supported by the European Union (EU) and implemented in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and The Social Fund for Development (SFD). The USD$28 million SPCRP aims to enhance the purchasing capacity of vulnerable communities while restoring community infrastructure and improving access to and delivery of key services through short-term employment, provision of solar energy equipment, rehabilitating healthcare facilities, and building the capacities of communities and local authorities.