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Agriculture and Rural Development

Youth volunteers in Yemen provide hope during conflict

Khalid Moheyddeen's picture
Also available in: العربية


Even before the protractive conflict, implementing development projects in some of the most remote and disadvantaged districts in a number of Yemeni governorates faced significant challenges. To address these challenges, and overcome some of the problems related to access to these remote areas, Yemen’s Social Fund for Development (SFD) devised a program in 2004 to attract youth interested in volunteering to promote development. In its first phase, this program — known as “Rural Advocates Working for Development (RAWFD)” — targeted a number of male and female students from these remote areas and provided them with a development-related program while they are attending universities in major cities. After graduation, these young graduates made a big difference in facilitating SFD operations and activities of other national and international organizations in their home areas. 

Walking in the Footsteps of History – Towards the Social Fund for Development in Iraq

Ghassan Alkhoja's picture
Also available in: العربية


It had rained a couple of days ago. Our footsteps almost float on soil that feels soft, almost spongy. We see footprints of wolves that roam the lands at night. The sun is low in the sky, and a slight breeze wafts all around us. There is serenity in the air, as if history itself is imprinted in the consciousness of this land. This is Uruk, some 300 kilometers south of Baghdad, and some 7,000 years from the start of civilization. 

Last year in May, I authored a blog about the Iraq Social Fund for Development (SFD) project. I wrote about Iraq’s glorious history, its abundant natural resources, its profound cultural heritage, and its vast human capital. I wrote about the cradle of civilization and the great rivers, embodied by the city of Uruk, one of the earliest urban centers in civilization, which many believe lent its name to modern day “Iraq”. I also wrote of the deep challenges that are facing the people of Iraq. Successive years of conflict, violence and displacement have significantly eroded or destroyed much of what the people of this land have built. Today, I write about the promise of history, the optimism of the present, and the potential for a more promising future. 

The economic impact of the Syrian conflict: Estimate it yourself

Shanta Devarajan's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Homs, Syria - ART Production | Shutterstock.com

Everyone agrees that conflicts impose huge costs on economies, including massive destruction of infrastructure and housing, disruption of trade, transport and production, not to mention the loss of lives and widespread human suffering. Yet quantitative estimates of these costs are hard to come by.     

Preventing economic collapse in Gaza, realizing the potential of the Jordan Valley

Shanta Devarajan's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français


To an economist, working on the West Bank and Gaza can be exceptionally frustrating.  No matter how good the analysis, the policy implications from that analysis are blocked because of “politics.” 

“Seeing a woman robbed of the fruits of her labor galvanized me into action”

Ibtissam Alaoui's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية


The agricultural sector is one of the strategic drivers of Morocco’s economy, generating 40 percent of the country’s jobs and currently employing four million people. Approximately 85 percent of the rural population, 57 percent of whom are women, works in agriculture. Women nevertheless still have very little access to decent incomes, land, and markets.

What should Jordan’s irrigation agency do to keep supplying water?

Caroline van den Berg's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 Dudarev Mikhail l Shutterstock.com

As an irrigation agency, what do you do when demand for water is growing, food security features high on your government’s agenda, and the irrigation system you’ve been running for the past 40 years is nearing the end of its life? Your budget is also tight and what you charge for the water you’re supplying has not kept up with overall cost levels.
We worked with the Jordan Valley Authority (JVA), which falls under Jordan’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation, to see what options the JVA has to make the most of its situation.

Could a livelihood in agriculture be a way for refugees to move from surviving to thriving?

Dorte Verner's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 Dorte Verner

Syrian families have been forcibly displaced and scattered across the Middle East and beyond and many of those who fled the war tell me they have lost friends, family members, and most of their possessions. 

Jasser, a 24-year-old Syrian man, and his family were forced to flee in 2012 because of the bombings. He lost his mother and sister, his house, car, and job. Before leaving Syria he was working in farming, processing and producing fruits and vegetables. Jasser and other displaced people like him are struggling to find jobs (and get visas), generate income, and gain an education. They all say they want to return home in the near future. They all say they want to work and keep their dignity.

Tunisia: Bringing the global market to rural women weavers

Christine Petré's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 Aatik

In El Aroussa, a small village in Tunisia’s north-western region of Siliana, a group of women of all ages have gathered in a small pebble house for training. They are all weavers, some more experienced than others, and the aim of the training is t to help local artisans become self-sufficient and to expand the market for their wares by gaining access to global customers.

Why putting money into Tunisian roads matters even more now

Vickram Cuttaree's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Highway Tunis-Béja - By DrFO.Jr.Tn l Wikimedia Commons

People familiar with Tunisia know that the country is polarized—with really two Tunisias, one poor, the other richer. The city of Sousse, for example, is among the country’s main economic centers on the coast; Kairouan by contrast, in the Center-West region, has 15% unemployment, a poverty rate of 32% (according to 2013 figures) and has witnessed frequent demonstrations of popular frustration. 

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