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How Women's Economic Empowerment Transforms Families and Communities

A family of 3 , Husband, wife and a their son standing in front of their poultry

The poultry farm enables Etisam and her husband to provide a better life for their children. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE

The poultry farm enables Etisam and her husband to provide a better life for their children. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE

When economically empowered, women are more likely to invest in their families and communities. Empowered women help their families break free from poverty and enhance children’s health, education, and nutrition.

Women make up a significant proportion of the workforce in Yemen’s rural economy, yet they often face many barriers to accessing economic opportunities. Supporting rural women to access micro and small enterprises fosters rural development. “It is difficult to boost economic growth in Yemen’s countryside if over half of the community is excluded, and here I mean women,” says Aiman Omar, CARE’s Early Recovery Officer.

To address durable empowerment for rural women in Yemen, CARE delivers a Food Assistance for Training (FFT) project to improve food security and sustainable livelihoods of conflict-affected families in Lahj and Al-Dhale’e Governorates.

Combining cash assistance with training and capacity-building activities in business management, life skills, and vocational training, the FFT project enables 2,150 women to meet their immediate food needs with the cash they receive in exchange for attending 90 days of training. In addition, the project encourages women to meet their long-term needs by equipping them with the necessary skills and financial grants to start their small businesses and support their families and communities.

In this article, we shine a light on two of the many inspiring micro-enterprises made possible by the FFT project in Lahj Governorate.

Etisam’s poultry farm

Etisam and her husband work on their poultry farm. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE

When Etisam thought about poultry farming, her initial goal was to improve her family’s nutrition by feeding her children nutritious chickens and eggs. Improving the family’s well-being was Etisam’s ultimate goal.

“I lost hope and was depressed,” says Etisam. “I couldn’t find a job, and my husband’s income wasn’t enough to buy food for the family as food prices continue to increase.”

Etisam received a financial grant from the FFT project to establish a poultry farm. She started with a small flock of chickens and gradually expanded her business. She now has more than 600 chickens. Etisam’s husband joined her business, where their farm provides eggs and chicken to local restaurants and markets.

“We used the grant, along with my and my husband’s savings, to build a small poultry barn and buy 600 chickens and chicken feed. And this is how my dream became a reality.”

Etisam’s poultry farm has achieved great success in the area. She has supported her family and created new job opportunities in her community. “This success prompted me to expand my business and build a larger poultry barn to increase our production of chickens and eggs and make more profits,” she concludes.

Etisam and her husband are working hard to build a larger poultry barn and expand their business. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE

Ahlam’s dairy business

Like Etisam, Ahlam Yassin, a 48-year-old mother of four children, received a financial grant from the FFT project to start a milk processing and dairy production business. Ahlam used her grant to buy a cow and produce milk, cheese, and ghee.

“My husband is sick, and his monthly salary is insufficient to buy food and medicine,” says Ahlam. “I tried to take a bank loan to buy a cow, but I couldn’t provide the requested guarantees for the loan. It’s hard for rural women to access funds, so the grant came like a gift from heaven.”

Ahlam milks her cow to make ghee and cheese. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE

Ahlam’s business provides a reliable source of income for the family. It also provides community members with fresh, high-quality dairy products at an affordable price.

“I earn about US $70 monthly from selling ghee, cheese, and milk to my neighbors and nearby markets. I plan to buy a second cow and increase my production,” she concludes.

Ahlam and her husband sell ghee, cheese, and milk to their neighbors and nearby markets. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE
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