The European Union has provided €10 million for UNESCO’s initiative, Cash for Work: Promoting Livelihood Opportunities for Urban Youth in Yemen. The initiative aims to create jobs in heritage restoration and preservation for young Yemenis, while promoting social cohesion and resilience through cultural programming.
The initiative comes against a background of economic hardship, extensive population displacement, and heavy damages to infrastructure and heritage due to the ongoing conflict in the country.
Its main objective is to create livelihoods opportunities for youth in Yemen through urban regeneration activities, including the restoration of specific buildings and World Heritage sites in historic urban centres damaged in the ongoing conflict. It also foresees the establishment of cultural programmes targeting the reinforcement of social cohesion and peace-building and to support for civil society.
The project will seek to boost the resilience of poor and vulnerable groups with the objective of implementing full and equitable employment for women and men, young people and persons with disabilities. It foresees the implementation of equal pay for equal work.
It also provides for the establishment of cultural programmes to promote local cultural products, social cohesion and dialogue. Another purpose of the project is to lay the ground for the development of sustainable tourism and strengthen efforts to protect natural heritage as well as cultural sites and landmarks.
"Creating the conditions for sustainable employment and preservation of Yemeni culture is a very important element of the EU effort in this country. We are confident that this initiative will contribute to reducing the unemployment rate among youth in the Yemeni labour market, the preservation and restoration of cultural assets, skills development, and provide support to cultural industries" said the EU Head of Delegation, Antonia Calvo Puerta.
Moreover, Anna Paolini, Director of the UNESCO Office for the Gulf Cooperation Council and Yemen, added “We are extremely pleased with this strategic partnership with the EU for its innovative approach to the safeguarding cultural heritage at risk through the empowerment of youth in Yemen. This project will not only provide livelihoods to youth and their families in this particular moment, it will also retain and strengthen competencies in conservation and restoration of built heritage, which will be necessary in the recovery phase of the country.”