The current conflict in Yemen is a result of many years of political stagnation coupled with several regional and tribal conflicts and exacerbated by scarce resources and widespread poverty. Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world. It has extreme water scarcity, soaring food prices, a growing population and collapsing state services. Since 2004, growing tensions between government forces, anti-government revolutionaries and militant Islamist groups have grown leading to civil strife and periodic outbreaks of armed violence between the state and opposition groups. In 2011, the Yemeni ‘Arab Spring’ revolution led to a change of government and the launch of a National Dialogue and a constitutional drafting process. More recently, the Houthi movement has captured militarily the northern governorates (Saada and Amran) and the capital Sanaa, forcing the replacement of the Prime Minister.
Yemen has the second highest estimated level of civilian firearms possession in the world (Small Arms Survey 2007) with an average of 54 firearms per 100 people. Land disputes are recognised as the most common cause of armed violence in Yemen but inter-tribal/regional conflicts and insurgency are also common and stand in the way of a positive and rational development and equity in national political governance. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is present and active in Yemen. The risk that local conflicts will escalate into broader regional violence and destabilise the country increases as both formal state institutions and informal conflict management mechanisms are eroded by the current political hiatus.
Yemen faces a large scale humanitarian emergency. 14.7 million people need some kind of humanitarian assistance (57% of the population), of which 335,000 are Internally Displaced People (80,000 IDPs due to conflict just in 2014). Continuous instability has not deterred the influx of migrants and refugees (245,000 refugees in Yemen as of October 2014) from Africa (more than 10,000 people crossed the Red Sea in August 2014, a marked increase from the previous year), while Yemeni peoplenare being deported from Saudi Arabia (nearly 700,000 returnees from April 2013 to July 2014).
In Yemen, Danish Demining Group (DDG) collaborates closely with its parent organisation the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) which implements livelihoods projects and provides support to refugees and host populations, especially in the regions of Harad and Aden. The overall goal of the DDG and DRC joint interventions is to contribute to the stabilisation of fragile parts of Yemen by enhancing community safety and improving the quality of lives and livelihoods among conflict-affected populations. One project, funded by UNICEF, aims to provide improved child protection monitoring, including Mine Risk Education (MRE) specifically tailored for children. In addition to this, DDG/DRC are implementing a Community Driven Recovery and Safety (CDRS) project, funded by the UK and Norway, in the southern governorates of Abyan and Lahj. CDRS recognizes that communities are at the centre of their own development, resources and safety and as a result, the program initiatives seek to enhance the capacities of community members and organizations to determine their own path to community development and safety.