Ahdaf during ‘My First Business’ training class in Qusaier district, Hadramout governorate. | Photo Credit: UNDP Yemen 2021

 

Against the complex backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Yemenis were forced to abandon their businesses – big and small – or ended up losing their jobs as a result of social distancing regulations, the fear of infection, and a lack of revenue due to reduced foot traffic.

“I had to stop working as a Henna artist because of the pandemic’s social distancing and protective measures,” tells Ahdaf. “But this training will help me start my new Ma’waz weaving business confidently.”

To help combat this, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – in partnership with the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) and the Small and Micro Enterprise Promotion Service (SMEPS) – launched a project to assist young entrepreneurs - especially women - to establish businesses, engage them in the labor market, and increase their income. By developing their business, vocational, technical, and craftsmanship skills, the trained entrepreneurs will help to develop and grow a variety of industries, not only benefitting themselves but their communities too.

“I was a housewife before joining the training, but I always wanted to support my husband. Now I have learned the skills I need to start and manage a business. I will use the tools provided to start a business for fish net weaving, so that I can support my family,” explains Shatha, a participant in the programme.  

So far, entrepreneurial and vocational training has been provided to 501 Yemenis across Hadramout and Lahj, including 326 women. The project highlights the need for women’s engagement in Yemen’s economic recovery and encourages them through specially designed training in fields that suit their capacity and skills.


What the Project Offers

The project starts with entrepreneurship where participants learn a variety of business skills including project planning, time management, market analysis, customer service, and finance. After defining their project ideas, they work with the project’s consultants on how to do a market analysis, cost/benefit analysis, and project their profits and losses.

Next the participants are given the opportunity to work with and be guided by experts in the field of their choice, including food processing, textiles and handloom, and technical skills in carpentry and maintenance of cars, mobile phones, and appliances.

During the vocational training participants also receive small grants that are essential to establish their business with the value ranging from US$ 600 to US$ 1,800.


Great Expectations

One participant, Ansar Ba-Shraheel, is determined to build the “largest pastry shop in the area” and has outlined a clear, manageable path to get there.

Starting from home, she will begin distributing her produce to grocery stores, shops, and markets and will also take advantage of ceremonies and holidays to grow her clientele. Eventually, she explains, “I will market my products on WhatsApp, social media, and take online orders. Once my work picks up and becomes well-known, I want to open the biggest pastry shop and hire and help many people from my community.”

 

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The Vocational and Business Skills Training and Support Project is funded by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid & Relief Center (KSrelief) and implemented in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Small and Micro Enterprise Promotion Service (SMEPS). The US$ 3,000,000 project helps improve Yemeni livelihoods and access to productive services through provision of training and support in: entrepreneurship, agro-business and food processing, textiles and handloom, in addition to technical skills (carpentry, and maintenance of cars, mobile phones and appliances). The project also provides project participants with in-kind grants to help them establish their own business.

 

About the project:

The Vocational and Business Skills Training and Support Project is funded by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid & Relief Center (KSrelief) and implemented in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Small and Micro Enterprise Promotion Service (SMEPS). The US$ 3,000,000 project helps improve Yemeni livelihoods and access to productive services through provision of training and support in: entrepreneurship, agro-business and food processing, textiles and handloom, in addition to technical skills (carpentry, and maintenance of cars, mobile phones and appliances). The project also provides project participants with in-kind grants to help them establish their own business.

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