Yemen: FAO and Kuwait collaborate to enhance the resilience of vulnerable farmers through improving their access to water resources
Zahr Haidar is a farmer and a mother of six children from Khanfar District in Abyan Governorate. The impacts of the ongoing conflict such as damages to vital irrigation infrastructures have exacerbated her vulnerabilities and threatened her ability to sustain her livelihood and provide food for her children.
“We work in farming because it is all we have and all we know. We were extremely affected by the conflict because we depend on water from wells to irrigate our crops…we could not keep up with the agricultural calendar [due to the lack of sustainable access to water], our land was exposed to increased pest infestation…and we lost some of our livestock.” explained Zahr.
With the support of the Government of Kuwait, FAO repaired and rehabilitated water canals and irrigation networks and constructed small-scale water infrastructures across Yemen, enhancing the availability of water for small-holder farmers. Moreover, FAO supported the formation of water user’s associations/groups to enhance community-based management of water resources, promote the inclusion of rural women in decision-making and prevent water-related conflicts.
“FAO helped us by rehabilitating the main water canals through cash-for-work activities that benefited 400 farmers [both men and women] from my village. Because of FAO’s work, rainwater reached our land and agriculture became much more stable and productive… we planted sesame, almonds, animal fodder and cereal crops…my family benefited from cash-for-work activities, we were able sell our crops and generate income. Thanks to the increased income, I was able to buy more sheep and a solar panel…we even expect more yield in the coming season.” explained Zahr.
Through this collaboration between FAO and Kuwait, rural women like Zahr across Yemen are becoming more resilient in the face of the ongoing crisis. They are empowered to mitigate the impacts of frequent shocks and navigate their way through the protracted crisis, benefiting themselves and their communities.