Home Previous Issues Food Security in Yemen A Partner in Development: Rural Women’s Stories While Achieving Food Security

A Partner in Development: Rural Women’s Stories While Achieving Food Security

Sawt Al-Amal (Voice of Hope) – Raja Moukard 

Rural women are considered the cornerstone of achieving food security, as their role is not limited to carrying out household tasks only, but rather they are partners in economic development through the agricultural work they do.

Many rural areas of Yemen are completely dependent on women for their source of income, whether in the work they do in agricultural lands, starting with sowing and ending with harvesting, by raising and serving animals, or carrying out development projects to achieve food security for rural families.


According to the latest statistics published by the United Nations Fund (UNF)  and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in April 2021, indicates:

Yemen ranks 155 – penultimate – in the Global Gender Gap Index for the year 2021, compared to 115 in 2006.

The poverty rate among Yemeni families headed by women at the rural areas was 72%, while the poverty rate among families headed by women was at the urban areas 20.1%.

71% of the prevalence of anemia among pregnant and lactating women in Yemen.

4.6 million women and 5.5 million girls need assistance during the year 2021.


Ahqaf set the most wonderful examples in the pursuit of food security and left a mark that everyone remembered by praying for her after her death, as she became an example to follow, Al- Hajjah Zahra Abdullah – may Allah have mercy on her – worked the (Al-Ahqaf) initiative with her personal efforts, with her old age, and the benefits of the initiative continued generation after generation.

Al-Hujjah Zahra built water basins in every mountain, every hill, a small plateau in areas (from Al-Qasha to Al-Zamakheet, Najd Al-Watif, Jabal Al-Akthhar, Al-Mahfar and Al-Khalafa in the direction of Khattab), and countless places in Al-Arouk neighborhood – Haifan district, and she did not complain or complain about fatigue, sun, and thirst.

Iskandar Dirham (Director of the Rural Women’s Development Center, Wadi Al Hoceima, Abbous) said “Before every rainy season, Zahra Abdullah used to carry cement bags to a hill or to the top of the mountains, as well as transporting water  bottles with  a capacity of 20 liters. She did her best to prepare for people what they need when they visit these places.

Dirham added that she was transporting the necessary tools for digging , construction, and transporting food to those who work with her in her project, and she lived on this and did not retreat or get bored. Before every rainy season, she visits her Ahqafs to inspect its it and check if any of them need maintenance or restoration. The benefit of the Ahkaf is to irrigate agricultural crops, farmers and animals. So, they will benefit from them, and all of this contributes to achieving agricultural and animal food security.

As Eng. Abdullah Dirham said “The late Hajjah equipped Jabal al-Ikthrat with complete kitchen utensils so that if a group decides to go to this area, it will find it equipped with everything it needs, and this is what makes it easier for it to carry these things from its homes, and it has also built a bathroom at the bottom of the hill.


The work that women do in the countryside varies. This Um Salem (from the Bani Ali district of Haifan district) owns a goat and cow barn, which she raises and takes care of, so that she and her family can benefit from her food and financial revenues, especially during the blessed Eid al-Adha period.

 Um Salem said “Because of the conflict and the interruption of salaries, her children and their wives returned to the house in the Bani Ali area, and the whole family relied on livestock in the house, as it benefited from the cow in selling milk and ghee to use in the daily food, according to her, the cow provides her with half the income of the house, and that the most important difficulty faced by goat grazing during the growing seasons.

As for the Al-Tabay’a area – Haifan district, the middle sister among her brothers and sister (S.M) said “Our life was very difficult in Al-Hodeidah governorate. We moved to the countryside, Al-Tabay’a district, and our economic conditions at the beginning were very low. After that, I decided to raise municipal poultry (other than the farm)” And I started with two chickens.”

After four months of raising poultry, (S.M.) said “one of the women in the area gave one of her brothers two rabbits, and that the family had two types of animals that multiplied until the family became famous for selling eggs, poultry, and rabbits, after a while they bought a cow and benefited from it. (SM) confirms that their lives improved as they invested this wealth, and they started building a house for themselves in the area.

As for the wife of A.S., said “Her husband’s profession was plowing, and what the husband left for her, and her children is a bull that they depend on to support the family. (A.S.) has two children at the age of nine and a girl at the age of eleven, who benefited from livestock (the bull) in renting it during the farming seasons and benefiting from the return to generate income for her and her family, in addition to her activity in agricultural lands during the harvest.


In the village of Al-Adna, Al-Arouk – Haifan District, Nada Seif was able to reach the number of produced peasbas trees to (150) trees. Dr. Habib Radman (owner of the Dr. Habib Development Fund project) the program of agriculture, irrigation and women’s agricultural competitions said, “If you plant one tree of every kind, this is for you and your family, but for agriculture to turn into investment and rural development is the most important thing.” Dr. Habib worked within the activities of (Dr. Habib Development Fund), which included 51 villages in the district of Haifan and Al Qubaita, the Agriculture and Irrigation Program, a competition for rural women.

The competition stated that each contestant either raise 20 chickens, or plant more than 50 tomato trees, or 20 papaya or three heads of cattle (he-goats) as a sacrifice for the feast, and any contestant who fulfills one of these previous conditions wins a sum of money of ten thousand riyals, and the number of prize winners reached 20 women from different villages in the district of Haifan and Al-Qubaita.

Moringa (Alba’an)

In the village of (Sama Allah) – Al-Qubeta, Gibran Abdo Gibran (founder of the Moringa Initiative) said “The management of the cultivation of the Moringa tree (Alba’an), is an agricultural initiative whose main objective is the development of agriculture. The beginning was in the villages of (Al-Sama Allah, Yousefeen, Qubeita) and then we expanded at the level of the Qubaita districts, and then we expanded to the villages of Haifan Districts.

Gibran added “Initially, a WhatsApp group was established under the name “Agricultural Forum.” The forum included a group of people interested in agriculture in the villages of Sama Allah and its surroundings and gave their consent to enter any village in Haifan District as part of its first initiative. The goal was to motivate and direct people to farming and to love and care for the land.

On the reasons for choosing the Moringa tree to be the first tree for the agricultural forum, Eng. Gibran said “The tree’s rapid growth and adaptation to any soil and its lack of need for large amounts of water. An ideal tree to be a successful agricultural experience, and this in turn will stimulate the agricultural aspect of many initiators of agriculture, the benefits of Moringa in treating many diseases and is a natural plant to resist oxidation and cancer”.

He emphasized that moringa provides shade for other trees and does not compete with them for water, especially since the second tree in the “Agricultural Forum” initiative was the coffee tree, and it needs shade to grow. Moringa or Alba’an, most people do not know it and only hear about it in the song of the artist Ayoub Tarish ( Alba’an branch,I love you) and it is nice for people to gain good knowledge about this tree and its importance.

Regarding the health benefit of the Alba’an tree for women in the countryside, the study published in December 2013 (Moringa oleifera (Malunggay) as a Galactagogue for Breastfeeding Mothers) showed that the tree has health benefits for nursing mothers, as it generates milk, and has aesthetic benefits in addition to health, It contains many vitamins and nutrients that can contribute to achieving food security.

Water Dam

 Initiatives were set up for the local community to build water barriers to collect rainwater, as the youth of Wadi Sharar Qubeita – Lahij initiated volunteer work from July 2021 the beginning was the work of the historic agricultural water barrier project in Wadi Sharar. Regarding this community activity, Mr. Abdo Ahmed Nasser Al-Qubati (activist in the field of charitable and social work) told us that the local community took the initiative to adopt the agricultural development project in Wadi Sharar Qubeita; For irrigation with the support of the local community.

The initiative was to distribute 250 coffee seedlings to farmers within the 1,000 seedlings distribution program with the aim of encouraging coffee cultivation to be a source of income for the family. There will be advantage of water barriers.

Al-Qubati added that women have an important and main role in planting the vegetable trees necessary for the family’s food table next to the houses, according to the availability of water, such as: tomatoes, peas, peppers, cucumbers, okra, zucchini, and others.

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