Sharing to Survive: The Role of Social Networks during the Yemen Crisis
The Resilience, Evaluation, Analysis and Learning (REAL) award is hosting a panel discussion on new Mercy Corps research on the role of Yemeni households’ informal social protection networks and their contributions to resilience in the face of an onslaught of shocks and stresses. Findings are based on a recent REAL report which investigated, through interviews with nearly 150 households in Taiz governorate and global experts, how households have utilized their social connections to meet immediate needs, seek safe refuge and passage, and access key forms of psychosocial support. Panelists will present research findings and explore how donors, policymakers, and practitioners can help strengthen informal support networks as part of their broader humanitarian efforts. The event will be held in English and Arabic with simultaneous interpretation.
After more than seven years of conflict, over 20 million Yemenis — 66% of the population — are in need of assistance. Nonetheless, the humanitarian response in Yemen remains severely underfunded. So how are Yemenis coping? Yemenis themselves have pointed to an obvious but under-recognized answer: social connections and social networks. The report finds that social solidarity between Yemeni households has prevented a further deterioration of humanitarian conditions. Households are relying on the tangible and intangible resources from through their informal support networks in order to cope and survive. However, new and recurring challenges, including conflict, resource depletion, and the COVID-19 pandemic have placed these networks under unprecedented burden.
These informal support networks have been critical in households mobilizing resources to both meet immediate needs and survive in the face of multiple shocks and stresses; yet aid actors have failed to fully account for the role of social networks in their response. Evidence from Taiz highlights the important role that aid actors can play in accounting for and bolstering informal support networks, both in Yemen and other protracted crises.