Credit: GWQ

GWQ-Oxfam partnership: working hard to build when everything is collapsing in Yemen

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As part of Oxfam GB’s 75th anniversary, we’re showcasing the work of our partners. Here, Generations Without Qat, share the challenges they face in the escalating crisis in Yemen. 

Credit: GWQ

Credit: GWQ

More than 2.5 million citizens in Taiz, Yemen have been affected by war. Their lives, income, and homes are under threat. In an already-poor country, they have been deprived from their basic rights, such as access to clean water.

Public services in Yemen have been paralyzed and it is even worse for the city of Taiz, where public funding ceased, failing to respond to the people’s needs. A cholera outbreak signals a humanitarian crisis, worsened as health services collapse and only one public hospital is still functional.

Who we are

Since our inception in 2011, we at Generations Without Qat (GWQ) have dedicated our efforts to help our city and our communities who were not getting enough attention from national plans or policy makers. We aim to eradicate poverty, by boosting health and education conditions for the poorest communities. Our partnership with Oxfam enables us to build our capacity by having strong management, policy design and training delivery, whilst being institutionally ready to support our communities.

With Oxfam, we have grown to become a pioneering NGO. We now provide support to other NGOs in the area and fill the gap in providing essential services and mitigating the impact of the war. 

We now provide support to other NGOs in the area and fill the gap in providing essential services

How we work

We have partnered with Oxfam to implement the project ‘Improving Health and Environmental Life’, a comprehensive life-saving project aimed at responding to the cholera outbreak, whilst also reducing the difficult health and environmental situations in Taiz. The project consists of a package of activities aimed at:

  • creating awareness
  • providing fast track response to the most pressing issues, such as the cholera outbreak
  • activating the local service provider agencies
  • engaging with communities
  • creating job opportunities
  • contributing to waste management
  • providing alternative solutions to encouraging hygiene practices
  • and increasing awareness about the most pressing health practices

Throughout this project we have focused on six key strategic actions:

  1. raising awareness
  2. supporting hygiene
  3. building capacity
  4. strengthening local governance
  5. fast-track response
  6. and innovative sustainable solutions

Our impact

We have helped more than 80,000 people improve their living conditions through our work. We have also helped the governmental institutions to continue their work while supporting community-based groups to fill the gap by supporting their communities and becoming the focal point for any outside support.

We feel we still have more to do. There are many families that sleep without food or shelter and they need more help, but we feel a sense of relief at being able to ease the impact of war on those that we reach.

We have been the only NGO to work with Oxfam on interventions in Taiz because of the ongoing conflict. As we can help people directly, support emergency calls such as combating cholera, and help official institutions carry out their work such as the Cleaning Fund. We also worked in creating an enabling environment by raising their awareness.

Challenges

We carry out our activities in constant fear.
We at GWQ and Oxfam prioritize our staff’s security and implement our activities with the maximum caution needed to protect people’s lives. However, it is a fact that we are working in very exceptional circumstances. We carry out our activities in constant fear. An incredible amount of work is required to intervene in a city like Taiz, so we have to get creative, including developing contingency plans in order to be fully prepared for any emergency. We can conquer the challenges and the fear, because we see the impact of our work on the people we support.

The way forward

We have achieved a lot. But we still have more to do, and it is very painful to see people asking you for more support and to be overloaded with the demands by them. But we aim to create more partnerships and work with more initiatives to attract funds to respond to the dire needs of the people.

It is not an easy task to try to build in a wrecked place, where everything around is collapsing, but we as a civil society, whether national or international, can help in the rebuilding and relief process.

Author

Laila Alfaqeeh

Laila Alfaqeeh is the Head of Generation Without Qat. She is a graduate of Business Administration and has over 11 years of experience in voluntarily and civil society work.