Mohammed Ismail has a vision: his generation can foster peace by continuing to serve the community and creating employment opportunities throughout Yemen.
His optimism is more a matter of resolve than naivety as it has withstood harsh circumstances. A thirty-nine-year-old father of six children, Mohammed and his family live in the Hays district of Yemen. Well educated, Mohammed obtained his Bachelor's degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2002 and his Master’s degree in Business Administration in 2015. He now works in the detergent industry manufacturing personal care products for his business, The Golden Lab.
Yemen’s humanitarian crisis has had an acute impact on the health care sector – particularly its service delivery. Mohammed’s lab was no exception.
The Golden Lab was so severely affected by the crisis that it resulted in a sharp decline in revenues and its 2017 losses lead to shareholder discussions about the possibility of liquidating or selling the company.
“We could not meet the needs and requirements of the market, because we did not have a production line that could replace the labor force we needed and that could increase the quantity of production,” Mohammed explained.
Around this time, UNDP’s partnership with Small and Micro Enterprise Services (SMEPS) announced the roll-out of the USAID funded and supported emergency project to support businesses in their sustainability efforts. Having gone through its vetting process, once The Golden Lab qualified for the programming its production capacity expanded from 50 to 800 boxes of manufactured materials per day. While Mohammed’s lab now requires fewer workers in the production department, it has created new jobs in its sales and advertisement departments.
Mohammed hopes that The Golden Lab will become a pioneer in the detergent and personal care product industry. He remains optimistic and resilient despite additional issues such as economic turmoil and challenges accessing a steady supply of the raw materials needed for production caused by the war and humanitarian crises in Yemen.
Should financial and technical support be provided to leading establishments in the health care sector – including business continuity training services and consulting on how to develop and implement an action plan during times of conflict – Mohammed believes that more people in similar situations throughout Yemen will be able to benefit as he has.
Mohammed is confident that his generation will learn how to overcome the crises from the war and maintain the values of collaboration to create a country where everyone can live peacefully. He is optimistic that Yemen’s future will be one of security and stability.
Between September 2016 – March 2019, UNDP partnered with the Social Fund for Development (SFD) and Small and Micro Enterprise Promotion Service (SMEPS) to implement the USAID-funded and supported ($11,200,000 USD) Yemen Emergency Crisis Response Project (YECRP). Thanks to this aid, YECRP created employment opportunities, restored the delivery of key health and education services, and revived the agriculture sector to benefit vulnerable local households and communities amidst Yemen’s ongoing crisis.