USAID: 50 Years of Support to the Yemeni People
When the United States began providing assistance through USAID in 1961, that assistance was focused on basic education, maternal and child health, and agriculture. In 2009, amidst the growing instability in Yemen, USAID developed a strategy to address new challenges in partnership with local communities, civil society, and the private sector. Under that new strategy, USAID is now supporting rapid response projects designed to meet the most urgent needs of the Yemeni people, including agricultural infrastructure and skills, business skills and management training for small entrepreneurs, developing local capacity for health and education services, support for the engagement of government with civil society, business, women’s and youth organizations, and emergency relief for displaced and conflict-affected persons.
Youth capacity, participation and leadership are key themes for USAID assistance, with training and small grants that empower youth to play a broader role in society, the economy, and public policy. USAID increases access to basic education in underserved communities and provides training for educators, administrators, literacy specialists, and parent council members. In 2011 alone, 30,427 students benefited from USAID support to primary schools.
Today, we stand at an important turning point in Yemen’s history. In partnership with the Yemeni people, USAID is transforming itself from a traditional aid agency into a modern development enterprise that is unleashing a new spirit in Yemen of innovation and results-based development.
Recently, a USAID youth project sponsored a photography training and competition in Aden. The day of the photo exhibition, a nearby police station was bombed. While the organizers thought of canceling the event, the peer review committee made up of respected community and religious leaders insisted on going ahead with the exhibition. At the end of the competition, the winning photo showed a Yemeni girl holding a glowing lamp in the dark. The United States stands with the Yemeni people and with their vision and determination for a brighter future so poignantly captured in that photograph and in the courageous response of that community in the face of violence.
On behalf of the people of the United States, I would like to thank the Yemeni people for your partnership and friendship. As we have in the previous 50 years, the United States will continue to support your aspirations for peace, progress, and a more prosperous future for your country.