About the ILO in Yemen

Yemen has been a member of the ILO since 1965 and has ratified 30 ILO Conventions, including eight fundamental Conventions. The ILO in Yemen has worked on building peace and resilience by creating jobs and income opportunities, enhancing employability as well as strengthening institutional capacity in conflict-affected areas.  

A Yemeni man working on a car engine in Hodeida - Yemen. ILO Yemen, through its apprenticeship program, has been supporting the livelihoods of more than 2,400 young men and women since 2016. 

Building Resilience and Promoting Decent Work in Yemen

Considering the current economic, social, security, and political situation in Yemen, the ILO in Yemen, as part of the UN Country Team, has been centering its work on building peace and resilience by creating jobs and income opportunities, enhancing employability of young men and women, advocating for decent work, and strengthening institutional capacities in the conflict-affected areas. By focusing its work in these areas, the ILO empowers communities to better manage risks and shocks to increase their resilience and self-reliance.


Yemen is in the midst of a protracted political, humanitarian and developmental crisis whereby the situation is driven by conflict and an economic collapse exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 2015, more than 3 million people have been displaced from their homes and20.7 million people became in need of some form of humanitarian assistance or protection.

Furthermore, the economy has been facing extraordinary fiscal challenges. Yemen has lost 90 billion US Dollars in economic output and more than 600,000 people have lost their jobs. The conflict has exerted direct and indirect impact on child labour and contributed to interrupted labour market development as well as a deterioration in skills and human capital.

The ILO in Yemen

Yemen has been a member of ILO since 1965 and ratified 30 ILO Conventions, including all eight fundamental conventions.

The ILO in Yemen has been working on building peace and resilience by creating jobs and income opportunities, enhancing employability as well as strengthening institutional capacities in conflict-affected areas.

In addition to providing technical support to its constituents including the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, the General Federation of Trade Unions and the Federation of Yemeni Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the ILO is currently working on:
  • Creating short-term and long terms sustainable employment with potential to introduce and support social protection, improved productivity and OSH, through the integration of the EIIP approaches at existing emergency employment interventions and facilitating the shift towards sustainable employment, engagement of private-sector contractors and application of Decent Work provisions.
  • Reducing vulnerability and strengthening resilience capacity of crisis-affected communities in Yemen through the creation of sustainable livelihoods and access to basic services.
  • Supporting social constituents to adhere to the international labour standard and to better cope with the crisis and ensure their business continuity.

Supporting Resilient Livelihoods, Food Security and Climate Adaptation in Yemen (ERRY III)

Under the ERRY program, one of ILO’s major projects for this biennium which isfinanced by the EU and the Swedish Government, the ILO has been focusing its activities on working with women and vulnerable groups to ensure their long-term participation in the labour market. The main goal of this ongoing programme is building community resilience by enhancing community capacity and reducing vulnerability resulting from the protracted crisis in Yemen.

ERRY III, which is implemented jointly by FAO, ILO, UNDP and WFP, is a project emanating fromtwo successful phases I and II. The programme is currently addressing community conflict reduction and social cohesion, access to clean energy and climate adaptation, and livelihoods and food security in Yemen. Furthermore, and in this current phase of the project, the ILO is working with its constituents to strengthen community institutions and capacitate them on gender sensitive resilience planning, conflict resolution and social cohesion. Alongside its work with constituents, the ILO is working with communities to address decent work, food security, and sustainable income.

Supporting Decent Work and Employment 

Given the current situation in Yemen, and with the shifting of women’s roles, ILO has been responding to these changes by focusing its efforts on working with Yemeni women who currently play a significant role in earning livelihoods. Through the previous phase of the ERRY programme and particularly phase I, ILO trained over 2,400 vulnerable youth (44.6% female) on upgraded informal apprenticeship in 11 priority occupations and more than 90 women master crafts-persons were trained and supported in learner-centred pedagogy, CBT and assessment, and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH). Below are some of the achievements of ERRY II involving women and youth:
  • Provided trainings to women engaged in agriculture on business development services, marketing skills, savings schemes, and diversification of livelihoods
  • Reinforced and promoted pilot rural small-scale entrepreneurs (SSEs), particularly women-headed households
  • Developed competency-based curricula based on the new and emerging youth- and women-friendly solar technology occupations and provided vocational solar skills trainings for women technicians in order for them to play an active role in the provision of solar energy in their communities
  • Benefitted up to 2,000 individuals from Cash-for-Work activities – through trainings by ILO trainers on ILO business training packages (My First Business and I own a small business)
  • Trained 320 master crafts-persons on learning methodologies, CBT/A, and OSH under the apprenticeship scheme.
  • Trained 590 apprentices on life skills, financial literacy and theoretical training in selected occupations followed by on-the-job training at workplaces.

The major activities provided in this project include competency-based and technical skills trainings targeted to women and youth interested in wage-based employment.

Since September 2021, the ILO has been implementing the Employment Intensive Investment Program (EIIP) and decent employment for women in Yemen, funded by ILO’s core voluntary funds via the Regular Budget Supplementary Account. The project, which ends in September 2023, aims to provide decent short-term jobs for the most vulnerable beneficiaries, with a focus on women by building their capacity as community contractors. Furthermore, under this project, the ILO is integrating EIIP approaches into existing cash-for-work/cash-for-assistance interventions and implementing EIIP intervention through private sector contracting modality. Also, the project focuses on enhancing access to sustainable economic opportunities for women community contractors enhanced by training women on business skills development and management, providing mentorship and customized business support as well as providing start-up/growth capital for women community contractors.

Enterprises and business development

The ILO has provided technical and strategic advisory services to improve the government capacities in the skills sectors. The ILO in Yemen is focused on skills development aimed at promoting resilience in the country.

The government and private sector have been working with the ILO and partners on developing the 2022-2024 Strategic Framework for Technical Education and Vocational Training (TEVT), aiming at providing market-relevant programmes that will increase the employability of trainees and their access to decent jobs. Work on strategy is at the heart of ILO’s current objectives in Yemen as the TEVT sector is paving the path towards public-private partnership, socio-economic recovery, peacebuilding, and sustainable human development.

Other activities linked to ILO’s role in skills development in Yemen include building the capacity of the private sector through training and follow-up support related to participatory planning to sustain businesses at the governorates level.

The ILO works to adapt its tools in business development services area to react to specific needs of small entrepreneurs, cooperatives and business associations in the value chain to help small enterprises and businesses develop their full potential, grow and create employment. This includes developing the training material, building the capacity of national trainers, supporting the private sector and economic institutions network for MSMEs, including cooperatives, in business resilience, risk protection and decent job creation.

Work with Constituents

Despite the context and fragmentation of power between warring factions, ILO continues to support constituents in these difficult times, either by training services or prioritizing and planning for better coping with the crisis and business continuity. Some of the major activities include:
  • Developing the Technical Education and Vocational Training Strategic Framework 2022-2024, through collaboration between Employers and Government services providers,
  • Providing technical support and training services for stakeholders at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour and relevant government entities on reintegration of children linked to armed groups into their societies,
  • Supporting the Federation of Yemeni Chambers of Commerce and Industry to develop communication strategy, enhance visibility and update the subscribers database.

Employers and Business Membership Organizations

The Federation of Yemen Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FYCCI) is an umbrella organization of 21 regional chambers. Before the war which started in 2015, FYCCI covered all 22 regional chambers in Yemen. Despite the prolonged conflict the Federation has managed to keep relations with most of the chambers in the different governorates. At the same time the Federation of Yemen Chambers of Commerce & Industry and the chambers are facing challenges regarding the definition of new value proposition, provision of member services, staff retention, and income-generation.

Since April 2021, the ILO has been providing technical assistance to the Federation in different areas including:

- Strategic management with professional support to design a new strategic plan for the Federation, identifying 30 main goals in technical, financial, and governance dimensions
- Communication by providing technical assistance to build a comprehensive multichannel communication strategy with members, media and other external stakeholders
- Data collection by supporting selected governorate chambers in updating their members-companies database. This area of work was particularly important as data on private sector establishments operating in Yemen has been scattered and the last comprehensive census took place in 2004-2005.

As part of this support, the Federation has been repositioned and seen now by governmental authorities and international community as a strong actor which can contribute to peace and reconstruction processes.

Further support will be provided by the ILO to build the research capacity of the Federation and in extending its services to governorate chambers.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ILO provided capacity building for national stakeholders on business continuity and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH).

Past joint achievements

In collaboration with the World Bank, the United Nations, the European Union and the Islamic Development Bank, the ILO contributed to a dynamic in-crisis preliminary Damage and Needs Assessment (DNA). With a specific focus on the impact of the conflict on livelihoods and the economy, the DNA quantified the on-going conflict’s effects on critical infrastructure, physical assets and service delivery across key sectors in Yemen. ILO contributed to the DNA by conducting a rapid assessment of the conflict’s impact on employment in Sanaa, Aden and Taiz. Two other assessments were conducted to measure the impact of the conflict on the Technical Education and Vocational Training (TVET) sector and on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the city of Sana’a.

Skills development reform remains an area of crucial importance for enhancing youth employment in Yemen. Over the past 10 years, ILO has worked on increasing the outreach of the TVET system in Yemen and helped build the capacity of skills training providers and business development service-providers to improve the employability and entrepreneurship among young women and men. ILO has also engaged in a joint ILO-UNDP programme to formulate a Strategy for Youth Employment in Yemen and which was endorsed by the Yemeni cabinet and international donors in September 2013.

Child labour in Yemen, exacerbated by the ongoing conflict and the most recent COVID-19 pandemic, remains a prevalent issue that still needs to be addressed. ILO has been focusing increasingly on combatting child labour through technical assistance to the Government on the dangers of child labour and the importance of OSH in addition to projects initiated to protect youth from recruitment and use in armed services. ILO’s work on child labour is focused on reintegrating and empowering youth at risk of violence through different initiatives such as awareness-building, skills development, and counselling services.

As a result of a series of projects over the years, the ILO established the technical secretariat of the National Steering Committee to Combat Child Labour. The ILO also created youth-friendly spaces where children and adolescents can access recreational, psychosocial, and life-skills education services, identified over 300 child soldiers, and provided hundreds of children with career counselling and orientation on the most marketable skills.

In addition, the ILO worked closely with constituents and partners on strengthening labour governance and the incorporation of international labour standards in Yemen, including drafting a new Labour Code, which incorporates gender and non-discrimination statutes, which has been sent to the Parliament for ratification.