In Yemen’s Taiz Governate, women in the Shim'yatayn District play a key role in the fight against the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). With support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Yemen, and through our local partner the Social Fund for Development (SFD), women are making essential personal protective equipment (PPE) items like face masks and hospital gowns to help in the fight against the epidemic.

Under the joint programme, Supporting Resilient Livelihoods and Food Security in Yemen (ERRY II), the initiative was the idea of the local women who participate in the Sub-District Communities (SDCs). A self-initiative community plan that contributes to COVID-19 response, they aims to ramp up efforts to curb the spread of the virus in the district.

The project supports 120 women by conducting trainings and sharing vital information on creating PPE by using local sourced resources. The women were also supported with logistics and all required equipment to be successful include fabrics and sewing machines.

“The training I received not only helped me participate in the community initiative to fight against COVID-19 in our district, but also helped me gain the skills I need to  provide an income for my family. We are making masks to help people, children and the entire community protect themselves from the COVID-19 and I am proud to a part of it,” said one of the participants.

The initiative has been welcomed and supported by district’s local authorities and health offices. They are encouraging the women to produce more masks as the need for PPE increases. In a short time, the women have already produced 6800 masks and 50 hospital gowns that have been delivered to the district health centers, helping protect the important frontline health workers responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I am very happy to receive, 5000 masks, 13 protective suits, and 31 medical bags today. This equipment will help our health center be better prepared for any new suspect cases of COVID-19 epidemic” said the director of the health office.

The initiatives show that women’s involvement as key actors bring significant value to local and district-level processes as they help develop more inclusive, effective, and sustainable approaches. They also highlight the critical importance of community-based institutions and their role in COVID-19 response and beyond.

As part of ERRY II’s local governance component that supports the engagement of SDCs and Village Cooperative Councils (VCCs), the project has reactivated 74 Village Cooperative Councils (957 members, 426 of them are women) and 12 SDCs in twelve districts of Taiz Governorate. Over 250 SDC members contribute to the preparation and implementation of community resilience plans that help communities cope up with the devastation of the current war and improve food security and livelihoods.

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The Supporting Resilient Livelihoods and Food Security in Yemen Joint Programme - ERRY II is a 3-year programme co- financed by the EU and Sida. It is currently being implemented in Yemen by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Food Programme (WFP) in six vulnerable governorates: Abyan, Hajjah, Hodeidah, Lahj, Sana’a and Taiz.

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