Life Skills training provides hope for vulnerable Youth in Yemen

With the generous support of the European Union, in 2022, UNICEF provided life-skills training for 1,348 young people to equip them to take on life’s challenges in seven governorates of Yemen

24 May 2022

The conflict in Yemen is into the eighth year, and the economic pressures are more acute than ever, creating financial barriers for children to continue their education. To help all children and youth in the region develop their potential and to better equip them to face the transitions from childhood to adulthood, from education to work, and from unreflective development to responsible and active citizenship, UNICEF has developed a life skills programme in Yemen.

With the support of the European Union, in 2022 UNICEF is providing life skills training for 1,348 young people in Sana’a, Amanat al Asimah, Dhamar, Amran, Aden, Shabwah and Abyan governorates.

The life skills training is a preamble to vocational training, where the selected young people will learn skills relevant for employment. It will help them build the confidence and know-how required to start their own businesses, or negotiate a place in the workforce.

Mohammed, 14 years old, from Aden, dropped out of school in Grade 5

Mohammed and Bassam are 14, and both had to drop out of school in Grade 5 when their families could no longer afford to send them.

“I have learned problem solving, and I can speak publicly with more confidence”, Mohammed says about the programme. “I’ve also learned communication and negotiation skills. I want to learn solar system maintenance, and I think these skills will help me succeed”, he adds.

Bassam’s mother suggested that he join the life skills training. “So far I’ve developed decision-making skills. I want to learn electrical maintenance, so that I can help support my family and provide a future for myself”, he says with determination.

Bassam, 14 years old, from Aden, is determined to develop skills to support his family.

Samira, a trainer from UNICEF’s implementing partner, SOS Foundation for Development, has been a leader in her community for decades. She also heads an association for women’s rights. “The children have been very responsive to the training; they arrive early at 7 am and stay late. They want to learn, and ask lots of questions”, she says.

At first, attendees may not be comfortable speaking, or may have doubts about the whole project, but they soon open up and become able to articulate their ambitions.

Samira has seen the impact of life skills training on young people in her community. “These trainings are helping to prevent early marriage, and giving confidence to young girls to speak with their parents and delay getting married until they are ready to manage a household”, she says.

The training also helps to prevent recruitment of boys into armed groups. “We used to see teenage boys getting married, and then their fathers would tell them to go out and get a job. Without education or skills, recruitment was the only opportunity, and this left many girls widowed with young children,” Samira explains.

Hala, who is a secondary school teacher and a trainer with SOS says the young people teach her skills as well. “The young people are benefitting from the life skills and applying them to their personal lives. They are thinking outside the box, becoming creative and starting initiatives within their communities. They are applying their skills to negotiate issues at home, and are talking excitedly about their futures. We have learned from them that poverty need not be a barrier, and to have hope and ambition despite difficult circumstances”, she explains.

In Aden, young people have the opportunity to learn life skills, and discuss with their peers

Thanks to the European Union’s continued support, UNICEF can provide hope for a brighter future for young people in Yemen.