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.

What problem is the Yemen Zakat Fund working on?

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.

What does the Yemen Zakat Fund do?

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.

What information does Giving What We Can have about the cost-effectiveness of the Yemen Zakat Fund?1.

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.

Please note that GWWC does not evaluate individual charities. Our recommendations are based on the research of third-party, impact-focused charity evaluators our research team has found to be particularly well-suited to help donors do the most good per dollar, according to their recent evaluator investigations. Our other supported programs are those that align with our charitable purpose — they are working on a high-impact problem and take a reasonably promising approach (based on publicly-available information).

At Giving What We Can, we focus on the effectiveness of an organisation's work -- what the organisation is actually doing and whether their programs are making a big difference. Some others in the charity recommendation space focus instead on the ratio of admin costs to program spending, part of what we’ve termed the “overhead myth.” See why overhead isn’t the full story and learn more about our approach to charity evaluation.