Microfinance success stories lost in Abyan
A recent field study prepared by the Microfinance Network in Yemen and conducted by Ghamdan Awn found that 45 percent of the program clients’ houses in Abyan were subject to robbery and looting. Twenty-eight percent of the clients’ houses were subject to arson; a similar percentage of clients’ houses were also destroyed.
The study indicated that 7 percent of the program’s clients lost their business activities because of their inability to transfer their businesses when displaced to Aden and Lahij; their properties were subject to robbery.
The study, displayed at the Sheba Strategic Center in Sana’a, indicated that 4 percent of the clients were affected in terms of their homes and commercial activities.
The study pointed out that microfinance clients in Abyan were encouraging to the program prior to the breakout of confrontations, with 59 percent of the clients taking loans more than once. The last events in Abyan governorate destroyed much success and hindered the search for new clients, the study said.
Fifty-one percent of the clients received housing loans; their houses were affected or damaged, though they didn’t repay the loans due to destruction and displacement in the governorate.
The most negatively affected people were the 31 percent with no means of income except what they do in Abyan; they depend on daily work to eke out a living, the study added.
In accordance with the study, 69 percent of the clients didn’t entirely rely on loans; they had another means of income such as government salaries, private sector wages and agricultural and commercial returns. Client income decreased to less than half in comparison with the income prior to the displacement.
The study indicated that 94 percent of clients received food aid per month to soften the problems they suffer, particularly those who have no source of income except in Abyan.
Furthermore, the study pointed out that 6 percent of clients didn’t receive aid due to and absence of registration by the funding bodies or because those people have moved to their relatives’ homes and not to camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).
The study revealed that 88 percent of the clients involved in the program are willing to do activities during staying in the IDPs in order to boost their income. However, the rest appeared to have lost willingness to do anything. They lost hope and ambition and depended entirely on aids they receive.
The study showed a side of what the employees of the program were subjected to due to what happened in Abyan and as a consequence of displacement. Eighty-one percent of the employees who moved to Aden resided in houses and had to pay extra expenses, whereas 19 percent of them stayed in IDP camps and schools.
The study noted that about 42 employees in the program were laid off from different posts, particularly loan officials.
The employees suffer from several social, psychological and financial problems, the most important of which are housing expenses and anxiety that the program will stop in the future.
The study recommended that a branch of the program be opened in Aden to begin giving loans to people of Aden and Lahij.
Al-Yemen Microfinance Network, which the program follows, said that it will publish names of the laid off employees on its website and contact microfinance banks like Al-Amal Microfinance Bank to give them priority in employment.