Lesha’ab, is a 112-household village located at Habil Jabr District in Lahj Governorate, the neglected mountainous road made the access to village difficult and this was affecting the villagers negatively making it difficult to access to nearby town market and services. It is a hard life that communities are facing in Lesha’ab and other nearby villages due to the rough road which dramatically deteriorates by flash floods and inability to maintain due to the current situation. As a result, some families leave their home and move to rented accommodation in close-by towns to get easy access to services and employment.
Since August 2016, the Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen (ERRY) Programme, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by Social Fund for Development (SFD), worked through “Tamkeen” methodology of the Empowerment for Local Development (ELD) Programme to establish 30 Villages Cooperative Councils (VCCs) located in Habil Jabr District. Training sessions were provided to members of those VCCs on how to prepare their plans, were define resources and priorities. One such VCC was elected by Lesha’ab Village and five other nearby villages. The VCC established in Lesha’ab has prepared its Community Resilience Plan, determined its priorities, and started implementation. The first community self-help initiative was identified as a response to the need of facilitating the transportation from/to the village by paving the road as a prioritized supported community initiative.
There are 10 VCC members representing six villages, half of them are women. All have been received training from SFD in situation analysis, prioritization and planning. They prepared village current situation report and drafted the community resilience plan in six full working days. They knew clearly that they have to exceed limits in contributing by more effort as an elected body to serve their fellow villagers.
Khaled Muthana , one of Lesha’ab elected VCC members, described the initiative as “one of stabilization factors, and the important gate to deliver services”. He added, “a lot of families have moved to other more accessible places to get services in the district or governorate.” When Khaled was being asked about the infrastructure initiative implementation, he recalled that “the priority was agreed to be road paving so we paved 60 meters length with 3 meters width of the road as self-help initiative using our own resources, that was a 100 per cent community initiative. Based on this success as a community, we applied for getting grant from the program to pave another 70 meters length. Fortunately, we got the grant and implemented 85 meters of the road”. He added “ It was not easy to gather the required community contribution which was about 58% of the initiative cost. The contribution of the community varied between the labour, and the provision of stones and some people contribution was money to procure the materials needed”. When asked about VCC women members role, he said “they are active and have critical role, they implemented two self-help initiatives in their villages one in cleanliness campaign and another in raising awareness in girls education importance.”
This small community-owned infrastructure project showcased the functions, efforts and impact of an elected VCC. It reflected how community resilience can be enhanced through community dialogue first, liaison with district authorities and mobilization of resources to the community. Adel Ebrahim, one of the villagers motorbike owner also shared his excitement on the newly constructed paving road, “the villages are now accessible to transportation through easy and flat road that will enhance community resilience and stabilization of communities, I am truly proud of the work done by VCC, they tried their very best to serve the villagers. "I am one of them and was ready to support and cooperate with them.” He added, “ I remember the tragic story of one sick old man needing urgent treatment carried slowly by neighbors form his village to another because the road was ruined by flash flood and the car couldn’t reach the village to transport him to the health center. Now villagers are less worried about such vulnerability and can concentrate on earning good livelihoods.
The Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen Programme (ERRY) is a three-year joint programme funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP, FAO, ILO and WFP, to enhance the resilience and self-reliance of crisis-affected rural communities in four governorates of Yemen. Under Local Governance component, a well-tried community mobilization methodology is applied to bring many rural communities from war-inflicted state of stagnation, negativism and urban migration back to dynamism and self-reliance. Basis for community-based governance structures has been laid down, through establishment and empowerment of Village Cooperation Councils (VCCs) through SFD. Such VCCs helped communities to work together and plan for resilience in a participatory manner and are sustained as autonomous local governance body beyond the project end.
- 112-households in Lasha'ab village were benefited from paving the road
- 30 Villages Cooperative Councils (VCCs) similar were established in Habil Jabr District