Another workshop about reforms in structure and activities of the Social Welfare Fund:Restructuring of SWF discussed [Archives:2003/655/Community]

July 31 2003

Fahmia Al-Fotih
In spite of the short period that passed since it was established in 1996, the Social Welfare Fund (SWF) has been offering its services to more than 15 different sections of the community including orphans, families of martyrs, handicapped etc. The fund delivered its services to the most in need in very remote areas in Yemen.
Last week, SWF started discussing possibilities of restructuring and reforms in the organizational structure of the Fund and its branches.
In this regard, SWF concluded a 4-day-workshop on Thursday 24 July 2003 under the auspice of Dr. Abdul Karim al-Arhabi, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and the head of board of directors of SWF, which is supported by EU-Fund.
In his speech, Dr. Al-Arhabi gave a background about SWF. “Establishing the SWF was recommended by donors as a part of the Social Security Network and was then left without technical assistance. Then SWF started with self-efforts and has grown steadily to introduce its services to all sectors of the community throughout Yemen.”
He stressed on the importance of the workshop in introducing possible means to reorganize the structure and work of the SWF and specify the cases that need more assistance and funding. “The issue is quite simple. We in the fund want to help those specified by the law as needy and vulnerable, who meet the criteria as there is an increasing number of cases that do not meet the criteria. Our support is somewhat temporary. So we seek a mechanism to re-assess all cases and establish an effective monitoring system to ensure that those who no longer meet the criteria are filtered out” Al-Arhabi said.
Dr. Al-Arhabi thanked the EU-Fund for its assistance. “The EU-Fund was very generous and we thank the experts who exerted great efforts resulting in fruitful results.” he said.
He also highlighted the intensive efforts made by the employees of the fund. “We believe there are pros as well as cons in our projects, whose implementation is not easy. We in SWF continuously seek rehabilitation and improvement in our performance. We surely have a long way to go” Al-Arhabi concluded.
Mr. Mansour Al-Fayadi, SWF Executive Manager, addressed the attendees by explaining the activities of SWF since it was first establishment. “Despite the fact that the SWF resulted from genuine local efforts within the country, it has succeeded in implementing great projects in cooperation with some bodies and benefited the society tremendously. Today, this workshop has come to crown 5 previous workshops held in five governorates with the participation of more than 250 participants.”
He added, “SWF has conducted a series of surveys about its beneficiaries and projects. The statistics suggest that more than 450,000 people have benefited from our projects until 2003, while another 100,000 will benefit too.”
He said that the obstacles that the SWF has faced include shortage of rough information and statistics about poverty and insufficient financial and human resources and capabilities as well as other social, economic and political challenges.
Mr. Walter Tebert, an international expert in human resource development provided information about the so-far held workshops specialized in discussions on restructuring the SWF and described the results achieved so far.
Mr. Arjen Sterk EU team-leader, said “This workshop is just one step in bringing the Social Welfare Fund closer to all those who need it. It is a step to make the SWF assist its beneficiaries in meeting their food and non-food requirements. And it is also a step to make the SWF more actively involved in helping its beneficiaries become self-dependent and not in need for social welfare any more. For sure, the way will be long, but we are heading in the right direction.”