“Beneficiaries are less aware of their rights. There are delays in payment and small amounts. Post office and SWF workers treat beneficiaries with no respect”
— Informal community leader, Zabad

The cash transfer programme

In 1996 the Social Welfare Fund (SWF) was set up as part of Yemen’s Social Safety Net (SSN). This programme is an unconditional CT programme that provides assistance to the poorest members of society. Its original targeting included the elderly, orphans and women with no caretaker (divorced and widowed). In 2008 these criteria were expanded to include those who were unable to work, although they have not been applied consistently.

Key findings

  • There is a general lack of knowledge about the programme and its operations among beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries alike.
  • The current value of cash assistance is low (around $19.00 per month for a family of six), though it is considered better than nothing and people from marginalised groups felt cash assistance made them feel part of the community.
  • The high cost of available health care, including medicine, tests and operations, was identified as the most challenging vulnerability facing beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries.
  • There is a growing demand for scaling up Social Welfare Fund (SWF) coverage.

Top recommendations

  • Improve access to information about the programme, using effective and appropriate communication channels.
  • Assist the SWF to set up parallel and independent grievance procedures.
  • Increase the value of the cash transfer in response to increased poverty levels, inflation, and the effects of political unrest.
  • Increase the amount of cash going to large households using poverty more systematically as the main eligibility criteria.

Key facts

  • The Gender Inequality Index (GII) for 2011 ranked Yemen at 146 out of 146 countries reflecting the very low indicators for female secondary education and labour force participation. The government is yet to pass legislation outlawing domestic violence and female genital mutilation (FGM).
  • Under-five and infant mortality rates has fallen in the past two decades, but acute child malnutrition increased from 12.9% in 1997 to 15.7% in 2010, and chronic child malnutrition from 51.7% to 57.9% in the same period.
  • Yemen’s 2004 Census reported that 1.6% of the population (approximately 314,562 people) had a disability.
  • Young people in Yemen are at a disadvantage, with high incidence of illiteracy (28% of female youth and 4% of male youth), limited access to basic education and weak prospects for employment.
  • The UN Development Programme (UNDP) estimates that more than 40% of young people in Yemen will face unemployment in the next 10 years.