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Creating change through the power of awareness

A pile of garbage outside a brick wall

Rubbish collected randomly in the streets in Al Fath camp before awareness-raising activities

Rubbish collected randomly in the streets in Al Fath camp before awareness-raising activities

In a country where 20.5 million people are in urgent need of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance, access to clean and safe drinking water remains crucial for the good health and survival of children and their caregivers. Yemen also witnessed the world’s worst cholera outbreak in modern history, with two million suspected cases in three years.

Due to the increasing number of internally displaced people (IDPs) as a result of the escalation of the conflict, WASH needs remain substantially high. Nearly 4 million Yemenis have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety, of whom approximately 1 million internally displaced people live in 1,600 IDP sites across the country, often lacking access to clean water, essential medical care & education.

Like the rest of Yemen’s displacement sites, overcrowded camps for internally displaced people in Marib suffer inadequate health services and a lack of humanitarian aid. Displaced families live in harsh conditions – especially after this year’s flash floods and COVID-19 pandemic.


A dirt area with a bike and a white tank
Residents of Al Fath camp cleaned the streets by themselves after awareness-raising activities

“I noticed large accumulated amounts of rubbish, which has implications for the protection of people’s health, their livelihoods and the surrounding environment,” says Latifa Saeed, CARE’s community health volunteer in Marib city. Waste management in camps is extremely important. Poor management creates acute and chronic health threats and can result in immediate and long-term harm to the environment and to IDPs too.

Residents of Al Fath IDP camp in Marib city had no choice but to randomly collect the waste in the streets near their tents. Rubbish remains in the streets for days, risking the spread of diseases. The threat of cholera and COVID-19 still looms high in IDP camps. Many people were infected by cholera lately, and children are the hardest-hit. Improved sanitation and hygiene services in IDP camps are crucial to ensure the quality of care and to minimise the risk of infections.

To address this issue, with funding from START Fund, CARE intervened by providing awareness sessions to educate I DPs in Al Fath camp about best personal and public hygiene practices as well as prevention methods to contain the spread of communicable diseases like COVID-19 and cholera.

Speaking about the impact of awareness-raising activities, Latifa says: “We conducted many sessions through home-to-home visits to make sure that all displaced families know how to protect themselves from diseases by maintaining public and personal hygiene.”

The awareness-raising had a noticeable impact on the lives of Al Fath camp residents. Households learnt how to properly dispose of rubbish and with the help of CARE’s team, residents agreed to collect the rubbish in specific spots. Garbage is being thrown into the allocated places daily and the camp looks cleaner now. Furthermore, families in the camp took the initiative to clean the streets and relocate the garbage to the new spots. IDPs hope that more garbage cans can be distributed to the inhabitants of the camp and that more sessions can be conducted in the future.

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