Mohammed Al-Namir: “Budget Limitations, Dualism, and Centralization are the Major Obstacles Facing Community and Family Development in Yemen” [Archives:1999/17/Business & Economy]

April 26 1999

By – Ismail Al-Ghabiry,
Yemen Times
Mohammed Saleh Al-Namir, Director General of the National Program for Community and Productive Family Development (NPCPFD).
Born in 1955, Al-Nadirah, Ibb Governorate. Married with ten children.
I finished high school in 1977, continued my studies in Syria, and got a Technical Diploma in 1982. Then I traveled to Germany for advanced studies in vocational planing and economic education.
-I worked at the ministry of education 1982-1990. I held many posts:
1. In charge of the preparation and supervision of the vocational education.
2. Manager of the industrial education and the vocational training department.
-Deputy of the examination supervision committee for occupational high schools, and member of the curriculum committee.
-After unification I worked as the public relations general manager at the ministry of labor and vocational training. I then switched to my present job in the National Program for Community and Productive Family Development.
Q: Would you give us an idea of the goals of the NPCPFD?
A: The Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs is working to develop, and improve the human resources, and aiding the socially insured classes through various means, such as rehabilitation and training of targeted social classes. As a result, the NPCPFD was established in 1988. At the time of establishing the center the following points were considered:
1. Rehabilitation of the less fortunate, and women’s training programs are the most effective means of lifting the living standards of these classes, and maintaining their dignity and preventing crimes, which might result from economic hardships.
2. The need to support and uplift the local societies, especially the productive ones, and enhance their resources.
3. After the success of the NPCPFD in training the poorest class of the community giving preferences to women, in 92 the ministers council issued a decree declaring full support to the program and giving it financial and administrative independence.
In 1997 the ministers council issued yet another decree reassuring continuation of support to the center and the importance of expanding it to cover the rest of the country.
The program makes use of the donations made available by different sources, such as the interest on the Kuwaiti loan (this source terminated in 1996.), as well as financial support from the Arab League, the Yemeni Government, Japanese and Netherlands governments, in addition to the support from the Canadian Development Program and the United Nation Population Fund.
The program had achieved such positive results as the rehabilitation and training of more 9051 women before 1998, of which 83% belonged to poor families. 55% of these women work in different places such as homes, cooperative societies, and development centers.
Q: Why do we need such a program?
A: The rapid population growth in Yemen is the major obstacle facing the growth of development in the country. According to the International standards, we have a very high fertility rate and this causes imbalance and unfavorable situation to our social and economical growths. A high living cost, a very low income and the Yemeni social practice of extending support to needy relatives, especially in the absence of social support to senior citizens, all these together lead to more wretchedness and a high poverty rate.
Studies showed that due to the above mentioned reasons, women suffer a lack of adequate nutrition, they are anemic, and they facing a high risk during birth. Therefore the only way to ensure a sufficient and suitable standard of living is by training these families or a member of these families to be productive and provide their families with the necessary day to day needs.
Q: How do you describe this project?
A: This project is an extension of the productive families and community development project, which has a very broad base all over the country. It started before unification by doing social, economical and educational surveys. It started in Sana’a, Taiz, Hodeidah and Ibb. After unification, through its previous experience, the project expanded to cover the governorates of Aden, Lahj, Abyan and Shabwah. The program continued to expand, with 41 centers as follows:
4 centers in Sana’a, 3 in Aden, 3 in Taiz, 7 in Hadhramaut, 3 in Abyan, 2 in Lahj, 3 in Hodeidah, 3 in Shabwah, 1 in Marib, 1 in Hajah, 3 in Ibb, 1 in Dhale’, 3 in Al-Mahara, 2 in Dhamar and 1 in Sa’adah.
All these centers are equipped with adequate facilities and equipment with trainers for the beginners’ levels. The centers have good experiences in the following fields: t11ailoring, handicrafts, embroidery, decoration, households, and computers, in addition to other educational activities such as eradication of illiteracy.
We are planing to introduce 10 more specialties, for instance leather, plastic and accessories production, poultry farming, perfume manufacturing, etc.
I can say that we have established a strong base of good living, for the families living within and under the poverty level. 8871 were trained at these centers, the centers are packed, and we can’t meet the overwhelming enrollment requests because of lack of sufficient funds. We are planing to interject a new phase in the project, by introducing mobilized units and renovation of the old ones and establishing a additional production units.
Q: What are the objectives of the project?
A: The project has general objectives as well as particular ones.
The general objectives :
* To accomplish the Yemeni government’s strategies, to uplift the living standards of poor families, to support the local private societies by helping them develop their human and financial resources, so they can help develop their areas.
* To create public involvement and commitment on one hand and coordination with the government on the other hand, to uplift the Yemeni family’s social, health and economic understanding.
* To increase the individual’s and the family’s income, and to provide more job opportunities for the poor and the people with limited income.
* To improve the Yemeni women’s skills, in order to help them participate in the economic and social reforms.
The specific objectives :
To rehabilitate and develop the human resources living in poverty through the existing centers.
To rehabilitate and train the rural families through the mobilized units.
To upgrade the standards of the Centers graduates, and train them to manage fund generating projects
To develop and educate the different classes of the local community within the center’s neighborhood in different aspects such as health, social, family education, handicapped and other social problems.
To provide advice and assistance to the women’s productive activities and all the income and job generating activities.
To establish permanent and seasonal markets and help graduates to sell their products.
The ministry of insurance and social affairs attempts to set up 75 more centers within the coming five years (2000- 2004). 25 centers will be in urban localities and 50 centers in rural areas, supported by 25 production units and 25 mobilized units.
Q: What are the future plans for this project?
A: The project in coordination with the UNDP is about to start a project of $ 450,000 to support and develop 5 centers in Hadhramawt and Hajah. This project is part of the poverty eradication program.
The program will also found a new project to aid and develop eight centers in Aden, Abyan, Al-Dali, Shabwah and Marib. This project is funded by the European Union.
We are also preparing a study to set up 75 centers more within the coming five years (2000- 2004). 25 centers will be in urban localities and 50 centers in rural areas. This project will hopefully be financed by the World Bank and the Yemeni Government.
There are many organizations that we would like to work with, such as the Social Development Fund (SDF). The SDF is supporting the program by training and upgrading the trainers’ skills. The Canadian Development Program also is one of these organizations, which had instituted 7 production units in different governorates.
Q: What are the obstacles that you face?
A: There are three kind of obstacles: technical, financial and administrative.
Technical obstacles can be summarized by the low standard of the training and administrative cadre we have, especially after the shift to supporting non-governmental organizations.
The financial problems are due to the insufficient backing, and the insignificant budget allocated for the program. The program runs 33 centers, while only having a sufficient budget for 11 centers.
The administrative side is equally important. Dualism is a major obstacle. People don’t know they’re duties, responsibilities or limitations. This is a major problem. Centralization is also costing us a lot of time, because the procedures take a very long time to complete.