Yemen, the education system threatened by the conflict

Since 2015, many students have dropped out of school and university. With the Lavazza Foundation, we grant university scholarships to students in a disadvantaged socio-economic situation

Today, November 17, is international student day, an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of studies for the human being, especially in emergency contexts, because to study is to have a better future, far from crises and violence. Often, when we think of education, only the first comes to mind, learning to read and write, which is the fundamental right of every person. But to improve the conditions of a country at war and build another society, we need capable, educated and competent people. This is why it is important to ensure access to higher education thus, that is, university education, so that people can obtain the highest degrees and become valuable resources for the future of their community. And this is especially true in contexts of war or protracted crisis, where students can create a new, peaceful society. In a country like Yemen, it is a great challenge that, as INTERSOS, we have decided to take up.

To speak of Yemen is to consider economic, political, food and social crises and insecurities. It is the most serious humanitarian crisis in the world. The figures are dramatic: out of a population of 30.4 million, about 24 million, or 80% of the population, need for humanitarian assistance or protection, and among them, more than half are minors. More … than 2 million children suffer from severe malnutrition. The situation is exacerbated by widespread violence, the collapse of public institutions and targeted attacks on civilians and infrastructure that have not spared schools and universities.

Yemen’s education system has been badly damaged since the beginning of the conflict in 2015. The continued economic decline of the country and the inability of the government to support the education sector led the Ministry of Higher Education of North Yemen to raise tuition fees (about 33%). This has severely affected many Yemeni students who are no longer able to pay tuition fees or meet day-to-day expenses. The cost of education continue to denied access to higher education. So, although it has been possible to return to universities since 2016, many students have not been able to resume their studies.

INTERSOS and Lavazza for students in Yemen

In this difficult context, INTERSOS is committed to providing a response to these needs. With the support of the Lavazza Foundation, through the project Scholarships for the education of young Yemenis, we guarantee access to university education for young Yemeni students in socio-economically disadvantaged conditions, who will receive material aid to buy books, school supplies but also to pay for accommodation and transport. Their academic and professional development will also be supported by training courses, mentoring and creating networking opportunities. Fellows will also be guaranteed assistance with any specific difficulties or vulnerabilities, including psychosocial support.

On the occasion of International Students’ Day, we want to reaffirm the the importance of education in building a better world. With a quality education, Yemeni women and men will have fewer barriers to finding employment and have access to more resources. They will be more likely to participate in decisions that affect their lives, increasing their ability to shape a better future for themselves and their communities.

Flavia Melillo