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In Yemen: Enabling water sustainability while empowering women

An FAO program in Yemen is helping farmers take advantage of dam water to improve sustainability, while simultaneously giving women more opportunities to participate in the country’s conservative decision-making process.

© FAO / Chedly Kayouli

For the past three years, FAO has been supporting the establishment and reorganization of some 38 Water User Associations in the capital Sanaa to better regulate water consumption. The Dutch-funded Sanaa Basin Project has helped the associations with funding, equipment, and – in the process – cultivated room for new thinking.

The best manifestation of the project’s success came recently when the female unit of the Al-Malakah chapter of the capital’s Bani Al-Harith District sought and received FAO support to build shallow wells connected by pipeline to the Sanaa Queen Dam. Under the current management system, all Water User Associations choose their board members through elections and 30 percent of the seats are designated for women.

“Through series of individual and group meetings with prominent local figures in the area, women have been playing a key role in raising the local community awareness about this issue, which embodies how judicious the women of Yemen are,” said Elham Al-Remi, head of the Al-Malakah women’s unit.

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