YEMEN. A US$65 million project designed to generate much-needed employment in Yemen and provide urgently needed services in sparsely populated rural settlements and poor urban communities, was approved by the Board of Directors of the World Bank this week.
The Yemen Labor Intensive Public Works Project (LIPWP), the fourth in a series of similar endeavors, is designed for both maximum impact and inclusion. It will cover all Yemen's twenty-one governorates, and aims to create jobs (estimated at 120,000 person-month) and high-value public infrastructure assets for the poor.
"This operation is delivering a wide range of services to marginalized and poor communities," said Ali Khamis, Senior Operations Officer at the World Bank. "In particular, women and girls in rural areas are among the direct beneficiaries of this project which will improve water supply, expand access to primary education and primary health services."
The need for basic infrastructure services in Yemen is high and requests have already been received. A diverse selection of these will be implemented in areas such as health, education, water supply and harvesting, sewage disposal, road paving and vocational training.
Local communities play a key role in the identification and prioritization of sub-projects and participate in monitoring project impacts. As a result, communities have ownership of the entire process. Apart from guaranteeing the long-term viability of the infrastructure created, this demand-driven approach will also strengthen the social contract by fostering cooperation between the state and citizens.
The selection process for the sub-projects will be transparent, with identification of sub-projects by the beneficiary community followed by submission of projects to a Steering Committee and IDA for review and approval. The Steering Committee has representatives from nine sector ministries and three nongovernmental organizations.
Public works projects in Yemen have performed well over the last 15 years as they are small scale, community driven, and use local labor and materials. This small scale allows them to reach into Yemen's highly dispersed and remote communities. There is now a well-established and experienced Yemeni government Project Management Unit, which provides continuous monitoring and evaluation of realistic and achievable performance indicators.
"Local communities continue to respond positively, and are highly committed to individual projects, which tells us that the results are having a positive impact on their livelihood and well being," said Saeed Abdo, Project Director.
In the context of a fluid security situation, the latest LIPWP will be highly flexible. The scale of projects, local procurement and quick disbursing funds will allow the project to adapt rapidly to changing circumstances, and take advantage of favorable conditions.
Community infrastructure will form the largest component of the new project, with about US$59 million allocated to about 440 sub-projects. These will be identified at the community level in co-operation with non-governmental organizations, concerned sector ministries, the relevant governor's office and project officials. With an ongoing focus on remote areas with high poverty rates, almost 80% all of sub-projects will be implemented in rural areas.
"Given the chance, communities can effect change, and this project, along with fostering cooperation between the government and its citizens, shows that they are ready and able to become full partners in development," said Wael Zakout, World Bank Country Manager in Sana'a. "This is the next chapter in what is turning out to be a remarkable success story