Yemen remains in one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises due to violent conflict, economic collapse, recurrent natural disasters and severely disrupted public services. This year alone, a staggering 21.6 million people will require some form of humanitarian assistance.
Women and girls are bearing the brunt of the crisis. An estimated 80% of the 4.5 million people displaced in Yemen are women and children, and approximately 26% of displaced households are headed by women.
Medair is supporting internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Aden, Lahj, and Al Dhale’e governorates with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and health and nutrition services. During the WASH behaviour change communication (BCC) activities in Auterra camp, Lahj Governorate, the WASH team came across a young girl who was especially eager to participate in the camp cleaning campaign. Rasha, Medair’s Senior BCC Officer, says: “This girl deserves to be a ‘Junior BCC Officer’ because of the way she is mobilising her community, especially her peers, to participate in the good hygiene practices promoted by Medair.”
“I like to clean our tent, so we have a nice space to enjoy from time to time,” says Anood, a 10-year-old IDP living in Auterra Camp. “My friends and I clean our tents and the play area in our camp together”. Her family fled to Auterra camp to escape the conflict that destroyed their homes. Due to a lack of good hygiene practices, Medair intervened there through BCC sessions.
“ Since the WASH BCC team arrived in our camp and started their first activities one month ago, I participated with them and learned how to store drinking water so it stays clean, how to wash my hands, and how to keep my environment clean. My friends and I enjoy going around the camp to find areas that need to be cleaned, to keep our home nice. The community hygiene volunteers (CHVs) call me the Junior BCC Officer because every day, I give them reports on the places that we cleaned and if we need their support. Now, they sometimes come and watch me teach others in the camp. My dream is to go to school, so I can one day become a teacher like one of the BCC Officers.
When my friends and I teach the other kids in the camp while talking in our own accent, they understand us better and don’t feel shy, so I practice teaching them every weekend. I always collect new information from the community health volunteers when they come. Now, everyone in the camp knows me and they’re proud of me. They think of me as someone that’s doing good in this time of conflict. Even if I get to return to my old home, I will continue teaching and learning there, too.
The thing that keeps me going is the support of my family and community. My brother even shows me resources on his phone to help me improve my teaching methods.
Before the Medair BCC team taught us, most of us didn’t know how to treat water or store it. Now we have totally changed our approach to using water, which is why we no longer get sick as much. Even the doctors in the camp are happy about the water situation and notice how our community has changed for the better.
I know that our country is going through a big crisis, but we need to work together and help each other. I hope that the conflict will end soon, so we can go back to our homes and not stay here forever. Learning and teaching have made me feel good and strong. I will try my best, with the support of my family, to study more and more, even just to help my friends.”
Medair services in Yemen are funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Yemen Humanitarian Fund – Yemen OCHA, World Vision, the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA / USAID), and .and private donors.
This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organization.