icon icon icon icon icon icon icon

Cleaning Campaigns Lead to Healthier Environment for Residents in Al-Mahwit, Yemen

A man in orange overalls sitting on a motorcycle

Ameen is a waste management worker and motorcycle driver working to move waste to the dumpsite in Milhan district, AL-Mahwit Governorate. Photo: Haithem Al-Dhafif/CARE

Ameen is a waste management worker and motorcycle driver working to move waste to the dumpsite in Milhan district, AL-Mahwit Governorate. Photo: Haithem Al-Dhafif/CARE

Solid waste collection systems are suspended in many cities of Yemen due to either decline in revenue collection and non-availability of operational costs or challenges in the capacity of the local authorities.

In addition, many traditional waste disposal sites are not operational. As a result, the communal spaces are increasingly becoming dumping sites and such improper waste management can serve as breeding places for many vectors that pose a risk of vector-borne diseases and other serious threats to public health. Similarly, poor governance and lack of accountability in managing municipal solid waste, coupled with the rising trend of population growth, lack of awareness and inappropriate habits within communities are some of the reasons behind dysfunctional waste management across Yemen.

Poor sanitation remains a major public health risk. According to the Multi Cluster Locations Assessment (MCLA), only 29 per cent of the population said that garbage is collected through the public system, while 28 per cent buried and burned the garbage by themselves and 43 per cent responded that disposed garbage was never collected which has, in turn, posed public health risks.

“I have been in this profession for more than seven years and I am happy to serve the community, but lately this work became exhausting and hard because of the lack of incentives, tools, materials and the difficulty of collecting the garbage from various locations. Therefore, most of the waste management workers are unable to continue performing their duties. Our work became a real danger to my health because we work without any safety or protective clothing. Most of the workers here used to work barefoot,” says Ameen, 39, a waste management worker from Al-Mahwit Governorate to the northwest of Sana’a, Yemen.

Stone buildings with a broken window and a pile of trash on the side of it
The main market prior the cleaning campaign in Milhan district, AL-Mahwit Governorate. Photo: Waleed Mohawar /CARE

“Most of the time, my children play in the neighborhood near the market and used to eat from uncovered containers. They would become infected with cholera and diarrhea due to the mosquitoes and flies that have been in abundance because of the accumulated garbage that is widespread in many locations,” says Darwish, one of the residents from AL-Waljah area, Milhan district.

A man sitting on a stone wall in front of a house.
Darwish, one of the residents from AL-Waljah area in Milhan district, AL-Mahwit Governorate. Photo: Waleed Mohwar/CARE

CARE intervened to enhance the public health. In response to the dire health and hygiene situation in the area targeted by CARE, collaborations were secured with the local authority and the cleaning fund in Al-Mahwit governorate to address the issues.

CARE provided motorcycles, cleaning tools, and fuel supplies along with financial incentives for the workers for five months to ensure the work is made possible, as well as enabling continued maintenance, operations and sustainability of the cleaning campaigns. Furthermore, waste bins, cleaning tools and protective clothing were provided to the cleaning workers to ensure their health and safety in the targeted areas.

“I’m so happy today because we have received the motorcycle and tools along with safety protective clothing. The waste management workers face a multitude of hazards and health risks. We’ve lost many of our colleagues because of cholera. I was sick with cholera too and suffered for a long time, but I have now fully recovered,” Ameen states.

Prior to the intervention, many families especially the children and women in Milhan district were affected by diarrhea. “The situation in this area was so terrible and now you can see the differences. Thanks to CARE for conducting cleaning campaigns of this nature. They are considered the first campaigns in Milhan district’s history.

Thanks for these useful tools and taking care of this marginalized community,” says Shwai Ali, a local representative in Milhan district.

A group of men in orange uniforms wearing face masks and standing in front of a building
Waste management workers receive outfits and cleaning tools at the beginning of the campaign in Milhan district, AL-Mahwit Governorate. Photo: Ali Al-Qasmiee/CARE

Locals hope this project will continue to support workers tasked with cleaning and clearing solid waste, maintain the public hygiene and support the most vulnerable communities to meet their daily needs. “The places are clean now and children can play safely,” concludes Darwish.

A building with orange containers and a man walking on the road
The local market after being cleaned and provided with garbage containers. Photo: Waleed Mohawar/CARE
Back to Top