Even after eight years of war, people in Yemen still socialise, celebrate important life-cycle events and religious festivals, and send their children to private schools. The circumstances have changed the ways and frequency they do so, but despite the importance of foodfocused analyses, life in Yemen comprises more than just a search for the next meal. A recent study highlighted the importance of social connections to coping strategies in Yemen (Kim,J., Elsamahi, M., Humphrey, A., Kadasi, A., & Maxwell, D. 2022). These findings concur with those drawn from conversations with households for this ACAPS study. Both studies point to the importance of the support obtained from connections and the social capital held within these connections. Based on the definition of ‘social capital’ as the “circumstances in which individuals can use membership in groups and networks to secure benefits”, connections between people are key to understanding how Yemenis continue to survive and live diverse, full lives in Yemen (Claridge 15/01/2020).
As in all societies and cultures, Yemenis have ways of coping with the lack of resources to deal with shocks or celebrate traditional social events (such as weddings). Years of conflict have stretched the usual coping strategies, but how they function has not been a subject of much investigation.
This research aims to provide humanitarians with a qualitative understanding of how ordinary Yemeni households cope with the challenges brought about and accentuated by war. The study is built on the assumption that people’s own stories about managing their lives and finances would enhance the understanding of coping strategies and how they have changed, as well as provide insights into adjusting humanitarian assistance to most usefully support survival strategies in Yemen. A form of assistance that recognises how people cope and avoids operational strategies that may weaken social connections will have a more positive impact and mitigate unrealistic expectations and programme failures.
Source: Assessment Capacities Project