Al Raqqa, Hajjaah, Community members at work building protection walls

On-going conflict has pushed Yemen deeper into poverty and increased the vulnerability of its people. Many have lost their source of income and more than 80 per cent now live below the poverty line.[1]  Instability has also affected the delivery of public services, leaving many without access to basic health, water and sanitation.

Households in the mountainous villages of Al Raqqa Al U’lia and Al Sufla in the Hajjah governorate, were at a particular disadvantage.  An unprotected well was the only source of water for the 870-person community and, since 2016, water had been contaminated by floodwater, animal waste and foliage.  Families frequently battled diseases such as dengue fever, typhoid, opthalmia, malaria and cholera.  Exhausted by struggle and sickness, some had lost hope and were no longer confident in their own abilities to overcome the challenges they faced.

This changed dramatically when the community made a choice for Tamkeen.  The Arabic word for “empowerment,” Tamkeen is also the approach employed by UNDP’s Social Protection for Community Resilience Project.  In partnership with the local Social Fund for Development and funded by the European Union, the project empowers communities to find solutions to their own problems, and address them by drawing on the resources they already have at their disposal – including teamwork.

In the case of Al Raqqa Al U’lia and Al Sufla villages, project activities included the launch of an awareness campaign, explaining the risk of contaminated water and how to avoid water-borne diseases.  In addition, the community was engaged to establish a Village Cooperative Council – a small group of elected representatives, responsible to identify common priorities, create plans of action, mobilize resources, and encourage participation of all community members.

In agreement that clean water is a top priority, there was wide participation in removing trees surrounding the well, building a protection wall and removing waste from the well.  Pleased by the results of their concerted effort, participants will now direct their attention to other issues and will use their own resources and capacities to address them.

SFD-Tamkeen Approach is a Local Development Empowerment Program that mobilizes communities to lead their own development based on their resilience priorities.


The Social Protection for Community Resilience Project (SPCRP) is funded and supported by the European Union (EU) and implemented by UN Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with The Social Fund for Development (SFD). The US$28 million project aims to enhance the purchasing capacity of vulnerable communities while restoring community infrastructure, improving access to key services, and building the capacity of communities and local authorities.

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