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Economic empowerment through vocational training in Yemen

A woman wearing a black Burqa standing next to equipments

Bahja has always dreamt of establishing her own enterprise

Bahja has always dreamt of establishing her own enterprise

Yemen’s working-age population is increasingly vulnerable to unemployment due to the devastating socioeconomic effects of years of conflict, and a reversal of development including the collapse of educational institutions. Insecurity and economic instability is resulting in a lost generation of young people, but vocational and technical education and training (TVET) can play a big role in providing opportunities and helping skilled workers to access the labour market.

Due to the absence of financial support, the infrastructure of Aden’s three main technical institutes has deteriorated over the years, with fighting in the city destroying the facilities’ buildings and equipment.

Bahja Saeed Abdullah is a 39-year-old mother of three and a trainer at the Technical Commercial Institute in Khormaksar district of Aden governorate. Bahja used to dream of becoming an entrepreneur, but her dream was disrupted by her responsibilities as a mother, and in addition she had to help her unemployed husband to provide for their family.

“During the period of the armed fighting in Aden vocational institutes were closed,” she says. “Education and salaries were suspended, and we lost our only source of income during a very difficult time. When the situation settled in the city, we were shocked to find out that the institute in Khormaksar was destroyed and most of its equipment was missing.” Like most public institutions in Aden, the vocational and technical education sector was subjected to destruction and neglect.

Najeeb Jaafar, a 48-year-old from Aden, works as deputy director of the Commercial Technical Institute. “Young Yemeni people have always demanded decent jobs, better livelihoods and more opportunities,” he says. “The conflict has been very bad for the economy and increases the risk of further instability.”

A man wearing glasses and smiling
Najeeb Jaafar is the head of the auto mechanics department in the institute

To improve access to quality vocational and standard education in conflict-affected areas, with funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), CARE rehabilitated three TVET institutes in Aden governorate, providing the required training and equipment in cooperation with the Office of Vocational Education and Training and the Ministry of Vocational Education and Training. CARE’s project aimed at improving the learning environment through rehabilitating and equipping the selected institutes as well as building the capacity of the staff.

A woman wearing a black burqa working on a machine
Bahja during the training

Through the project, thirteen schools and three vocational training institutes were rehabilitated, in addition to training sixty teachers to improve their practical, pedagogical, and assessment skills in high-demand fields. These fields include construction, information and communication technology, electrical installations, solar energy systems and automotive repair.

Bahja was one of the trainers who benefited from the training of trainers activity. She received training in mobile phone maintenance, which gave her the opportunity she had always longed for. “Thanks to the training, I became skilled in phone maintenance,” Bahja says. “I knew it was the right profession for me. I also discovered that I could set up and manage my own business, and nurture it gradually as it grows bigger every day.”

After the training, Bahja turned one of the rooms in her house into a maintenance shop to fix mobile phones. Bahja’s husband helps her to manage their enterprise, which provides a good income for the family.

Bahja says: “CARE’s intervention has succeeded in getting vocational education back on track. The most important thing was enabling the trainees to learn much-needed skills, such as solar system and mobile phone maintenance. We are now qualified to transfer these skills to our students, including female students.”

“When young people are given the chance,” says Najeed, “they can effectively learn new skills to make them more productive employees and entrepreneurs. Young people in Aden are proving that they are capable of fueling the development process in their communities.”

A man standing in a room full of machinery equipments
Najeeb learning how to use the new equipment in the rehabilitated auto mechanics workshop
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