Restoring Livelihoods Through Culture in Yemen

The first day of the conference commenced with prominent speakers, policymakers, and young Yemenis discussing the project’s milestones, urban rehabilitation in a conflict context, the project’s preservation standards, and UNESCO-EU translation of international conventions into operational plans.

Yemen has already been suffering from economic and social disruption, and COVID-19 has only intensified it. Despite the setbacks and challenges, I witnessed the project’s progress while following safety protocols.

HE Mohammed Saleh Ahmed Jumeh, Permanent Delegate of Yemen to UNESCO

Meanwhile, on the second day, speakers explored the untapped potential of local creative industries in Yemen, the importance of supporting youth-led cultural programming through cash-for-work schemes, and methods to build engagement and commitment to culture in Yemen.


The EU also wants to contribute to shifting the narrative about Yemen by demonstrating that positive and sustainable development is possible

Karolina Hedstrom, Head of Cooperation at European Union Delegation to Yemen

Founders of several CSOs took the platform to discuss their outcomes. In partnership with SMEPS, the UNESCO-EU project funded eight CSOs in Zabid, Sana, Aden, and Hadramout. In return, the organizations supported 221 young artists and cultural professionals (62% females) in the creative industry, said Safiya Aljaberi, SMEPS Executive Director. This investment “strengthen[s] youth participation and involvement in the creative industry” while providing them with livelihood opportunities and skills, she said.

To celebrate Yemen’s cultural diversity, the event also offered exclusive access to 12 short documentary films on cultural heritage produced in collaboration with UNESCO, EU, YWT Org, New York Film Academy, and SMEPS. The films are the outputs of an extensive training program utilizing cash-for-work methodology to support the livelihoods of 12 young Yemenis while gaining a unique set of skills by internationally recognized professionals in the film industry.

The outcomes of the YFF program came as proof that creative industries are a pathway for employment and economic growth

Nasser Almang, Founder and CEO of YWT Org.

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