Hamoud Ali, a beneficiary of FAO’s Emergency Livestock Restocking project in Yemen, tending to his sheep

FAO programme in Yemen restocks animals and provides training benefitting thousands of IDPs

13/10/2017

Caught in Yemen’s two-year conflict are tens of thousands of families forced to migrate to other parts of the country only to be able to support themselves and their families until they can return home one day. Displaced and uprooted from their livelihood and familiar surroundings, the internally displaced persons (IDPs), often face severe social and economic transformation under conditions worsened by unemployment, food insecurity, and malnutrition.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Yemen is engaged in a number of projects across conflict-lines that, directly or indirectly, benefit many thousands of IDPs through a wide variety of assistance, ranging from food assistance to distribution of live animals.

The theme of the 2017 World Food Day is “Changing the future of migration: Investing in food security and rural development”.
One such FAO program in Yemen is the three-year Emergency Livestock Restocking implemented in Taiz and Hajjah governorates, along the Red Sea in the south and the north of the country, respectively, benefitting many of the IDPs.

Beneficiaries receive two goats or sheep in the first round with the third to follow three months later, conditional on the successful upkeep of the two, along with relevant vaccinations. They also benefit from 32 training sessions to cover topics on improved breeding, feeding and disease prevention and treatment practices, to ensure that the sheep or goat herds are given the opportunity to express their maximum potential. 

Nabila Al-Hakim, 39, and Hamoud Ali, 45, are two IDPs whose stories are testimonial to FAO’s contributions in Yemen. Al-Hakim fled with her four kids from Taiz city to Damna Khadeer village a year ago due to the conflict. Her husband, who used to work in car maintenance, passed away three years ago.

"The situation is unbearable. We have been displaced for a year due to the conflict and we have no source of income. We are depending on aids. The situation is getting worse day by day,” she said. Al-Hakim has to pay 20,000 YER (55.5 USD) per month for the new house rent.  "My husband’s pension stopped almost a year ago. If I had enough money, I would buy wheat to feed my children," she added. The two sheep she received from FAO in April might just be the immediate help she needs. Once her sheep give birth and grow for 4-5 months, she can sell the new sheep for 55 USD – the amount she needs to pay rent.

‘’We are waiting impatiently for the new sheep to be born. I will sell them, which might mitigate the situation of displacement. I hope my kids will lead a secure and easy life. I do not know how long I will live. I keep thinking about my four kids and do my best to be strong for their sake," she said. Further north in the governorate of Hajjah, Ali, who lives with his wife and 10 kids in a two-room house, is equally eager to end life as an IDP.

"Nobody can feel what it means to be a displaced a person just those who have lived away and were forced to leave their houses searching for safety. I lost my job because my employer couldn't afford to pay salaries and, eventually, he shut down his store," he said. Like Al-Hakim, FAO has provided Ali with live animals and the necessary training to equip him to rear them properly and benefit from them, leading to his improved livelihood.