The protracted civil war in Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with 21 million people estimated to be in need of aid. GiveDirectly’s Yemen Zakat Fund lets Yemeni families choose for themselves how best to meet their needs and build resilience.
The protracted civil war in Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with 21 million people estimated to be in need of aid. For eight years, Yemeni families have been caught in a civil war, forcing many to flee their homes.
According to GiveDirectly, over 75% of the country lives in extreme poverty today. In Aden, the largest city in the south, 274,000 people do not have enough to eat and are not receiving food security assistance. Food in southern Yemen is available but increasingly expensive.
The programme is designed to help those experiencing food insecurity — meaning households going for entire days without eating due to lack of money, access to food, or other resources. This affects health and livelihoods, and contributes to outbreaks of disease.
Since August 2022, GiveDirectly has provided monthly cash support to 2,000 families in Aden to spend on whatever they need most — such as food, business support, and health treatment. By the end of 2023, GiveDirectly aims to reach more than 4,200 households — which is more than 25,000 people (based on an average household size of 6 to 7).
GiveDirectly research shows that giving cash without conditions has a positive impact on food security. Each household will receive 210,000 Yemeni Riyal (about $150–200 USD, depending on exchange rate volatility) each month for four months, no strings attached. This amount is based on the monthly cost for a household in southern Yemen to meet their basic needs.
GiveDirectly has had this fund Zakat certified. Zakat is one of the Muslim pillars of faith that requires Muslims to give 2.5% of their wealth to help those in need. GiveDirectly will act as the Wakil (distribution agent) for the payments, and 100% of donations are delivered as cash to Zakat-eligible Yemeni families in need. All costs associated with the delivery of the cash (such as staff salaries and bank fees) are covered from separate, non-Zakat funds.
It is important to note that Giving What We Can has not been certified to collect Zakat, but 100% of any donation made to this fund on our platform will be donated to GiveDirectly’s Yemen Zakat-certified programme. (While GiveDirectly is a secular organisation, its Yemen programme and Zakat policy have been reviewed and certified by Amanah Advisors — see its Zakat Compliance Certificate.)
For more information and frequently asked questions about this fund, see the fund webpage.
We don't currently have further information about the cost-effectiveness of the Yemen Zakat Fund beyond it doing work in a high-impact cause area and taking a reasonably promising approach.
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