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Supporting Yemeni women to grow productive home gardens

A woman wearing a black head covering

Rawdah, 37 years old, is a mother of three children

Rawdah, 37 years old, is a mother of three children

Yemen has the fourth-highest level of internal displacement in the world. More than 4 million people have been displaced since 2015, including 172,000 who fled their homes in 2020. Most internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yemen have been living in internal displacement for more than two years. Many IDPs have fled multiple times, further straining their already fragile resources and exacerbating existing vulnerabilities.

More than 70% of IDPs in Yemen are women and children, and around 30% of displaced households are headed by females. Although most IDPs are hosted within communities, nearly 1 million IDPs live in 1,589 camps and informal settlements. Food security assessments confirm that IDP households face higher food insecurity levels compared to non-displaced households.

Rawdah is a 37-year-old mother of three children who fled from Al Hodeidah coastal city to Ibb governorate when the conflict erupted in Yemen in 2015. She lives with her family in a small room in Al Udayn district of Ibb’s governorate. Her husband works for daily wages to provide one meal only for his children.

A small boy watering plants
Rawdah’s son watering the plants in their home garden

“We fled our home without taking anything except the clothes we were wearing,” says Rawdah. “We don’t have much to eat. No meat, vegetables or fruits. Many days we go to sleep hungry.”

Al Udayn district is considered one of the poorest districts in Ibb governorate, and its residents suffer from high unemployment rates. The price of food items continued to rise throughout 2020 while experts expect a further increase in food prices, inflation and declining food imports. As a result, families are forced to resort to negative coping mechanisms, such as selling assets and running up debts.

Food insecurity is most severe in areas with active conflict or bordering areas. It is also acute in areas where people survive on low and irregular sources of income and with limited access to public services. “This war has impacted the prices of all items,” she says. “My son always asks for juice and fruit, and I keep promising him that I will give him some later.”

Malnutrition – caused by a decrease in food consumption – is more and more rampant. Rates among women and children in Yemen remain among the highest in the world, with 1.2 million women and 2.3 million children requiring treatment for acute malnutrition. Due to poor nutrition, Rawdah suffered from malnutrition. “I miscarried because my body is too weak to carry a child,” she says.

With funding from Yemen Humanitarian Fund (YHF), CARE works to improve food security in Ibb governorate by introducing productive home gardens programs. Women farmers like Rawdah were trained on best farming practices. Participants were provided with improved zucchini, okra and tomato seeds, along with much-needed agricultural tools such as sickles, rakes, hoes and carts. The project also provided farmers with cash assistance to help them survive until harvest time.

“Thanks to this aid, I was able to grow a small garden of zucchini, okra and tomatoes,” says Rawdah. “My income has improved, and I can now provide three meals for my family. Our home garden gives us a better life,” she concludes.

A small garden with plants
Growing productive home gardens increase families’ food security
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