April 22, 2024

Yemen, education system at risk due to conflict

Since 2015, many students have given up studies at school and university. With Lavazza Foundation, we give university scholarships to students in socio-economically disadvantaged circumstances



Today, November 17, is International Students’ Day, an occasion to reaffirm how important studying is for human beings, especially in emergency contexts, because studying means having a better tomorrow, far from crisis and violence. Often, when we think of education, only the primary one comes to mind, learning to read and write, which is the fundamental right of every person. But to improve the conditions of a country at war and build a different society, we need capable, educated, competent people. That is why it is important to ensure access to tertiary education as well, that is, university education, so that people can get the highest degrees of education and become valuable resources for the tomorrow of their community. And this is especially true in contexts of war or protracted crisis, where students can create a new, peaceful society. In a country like Yemen, this is a great challenge that, as INTERSOS, we have decided to undertake.


Talking about Yemen means considering economic, political, food, and social crises and insecurity. It is the most serious humanitarian crisis in the world. The numbers are dramatic: out of a population of 30.4 million, about 24 million, or 80 percent of the population, need humanitarian assistance or protection, and of these, more than half are minors. More than 2 million children are severely malnourished. The situation is exacerbated by widespread violence, the collapse of public institutions, and targeted attacks civilians and infrastructure that have not spared schools and universities.


Yemen’s education system has been severely damaged since the conflict began in 2015. The country’s continued economic decline and the government’s inability to support the education sector have resulted in the Ministry of Higher Education in North Yemen significantly increasing tuition fees (by about 33 percent). This has severely impacted many Yemeni students who are no longer able to pay fees or meet daily expenses. The cost of education continues to deny access to tertiary education. Therefore, although it has been possible to return to universities since 2016, there are many students who have been unable to resume their studies.


INTERSOS and Lavazza for students in Yemen


In this difficult context, INTERSOS’ commitment is to offer a response to these needs. With the support of the Lavazza Foundation, through the Scholarships for the Education of Young Yemenis project, we guarantee access to university education for young Yemeni students in socio-economically disadvantaged conditions, who will receive material assistance to buy books, and school supplies but also to pay for housing and transportation. Their academic and professional development will also be supported through additional training courses, mentoring, and the creation of networking opportunities. Scholarship recipients will also be guaranteed help for any specific difficulties or vulnerabilities, including psychosocial support.


On International Student’s Day, we want to reaffirm the importance of education in building a better world. With quality education, Yemeni women and men will have fewer obstacles in finding employment and will have access to more resources. They will be more likely to participate in decisions that affect their lives, increasing their ability to shape a better future for themselves and their communities.

Flavia Melillo

Flavia Melillo