Youth Economic Empowerment Program (YEEP) – Yemen

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Yemen has a population of 26.83 million and GDP US$37.7 billion. Youth constitute 16.4% of the total population and 26.5% of the working-age population. While unemployment rate is 17.1%, unemployment among female youth (28.4%) is higher than that among male youth (13.1%). The average educational attainment is 5.8 school years in Yemen where the adjusted net enrolment rate for upper secondary education was only 27.8% in 2013.

In 2012, UNDP Yemen launched YEEP to help the government in generating employment for youth in the transition period. The project is implemented in three phases: inclusiveness, ownership and sustainability, targeting youth aged 18-30 years. The strategy of the project was gender-sensitive, supporting women entrepreneurship and improving the inclusion of females in the cash-for-work scheme.


Implementation of programme/ initiative:

Youth Economic Empowerment Program (YEEP) is a partnership between United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) Yemen and multiple governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. The project aims at empowering vulnerable youth socially and economically and enhancing their entrepreneurial, technical, and managerial skills. More specifically, the project aims at creating emergency and temporary employment for youth, and building a basis for long-term employment, a method referred to as 3×6 approach.


Main challenges:

  • There was limited participation of youth in the activities related to project design during phase I.
  • Some beneficiaries faced difficulties understanding the curriculum.
  • Some youth were disengaged due to delays between end of training and grant provision.
  • Political instability in Yemen was a main challenge.


Results achieved:

In the pilot phase (2012-2014), a total of 521 youth were employed jobs needed by the community (agriculture, school rehabilitation, water scarcity) and trained on life-skills and business. The project changed mindsets which now view youth as active economic actors. In phase I, around 4200 individuals and 600 families benefited from enhanced access to water. In phase I, The youth were able to save a total of 34,434,400 Yemeni Rials through the saving component.  In phase II (2014-2016), 283 individual and joint-venture micro-businesses were established, generating 448 employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth. In phase II, 16 hours of financial literacy training was given to 106 youth, and the project introduced females to male-only sectors and allowed them to be employed for the first time.


Moving Forward:

YEEP is now expanding activities at a national level and aims to strengthen the capacities of the government and partners as well as the work implemented at the policy level. The ultimate aim is to include the 3×6 approach as a national tool which addresses youth unemployment, enhances livelihoods, and contributes to resilience of communities using self-income earning activities which improves the economic life of communities and individuals.



The 3×6 approach used by the project is now being analyzed in Jordan and Lebanon to determine its potential applicability in the context of the Syrian crisis and subsequent unemployment.



AHDR, 2016

World Bank, 2016

OECD Youth in the MENA region, 2016

International Labor Organization, 2016

Good Practices in Adolescent and Youth Programming, 2015

Project Details

Date: October 10, 2017

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