Coming of Age in a Fragmented State:

Everyday Struggles and Perspectives of Yemeni Youth

Mareike Transfeld

YPC Policy Report   •   December 15, 2017


Main Findings

  • The most pressing issues young people in Yemen are facing today are related to economic factors, which have intensified dramatically since the beginning of the Saudi-led intervention in March 2015. The manifold consequence of the war for the economy – including price hikes, shortages of food, fuel and medicine, unpaid salaries and diminishing job opportunities – effect families most directly.
  • More than half of the Yemeni population between the ages of 15 and 25 are severely affected by the indirect consequences of the war, particularly the increase of prices and availability of food, fuel and water. 40% of the families of the youth questioned have received aid from humanitarian organizations at least once since the beginning of 2017.
  • Although they feel somewhat valued by their communities, youth feel marginalized, especially because of the lack of job opportunities. 37% believe community leaders do not understand the youth’s needs and do not try their best to satisfy them; 14% do not know if these leaders understand the needs or try to satisfy them. Only 20% believe that community leaders at least somewhat understand the youth’s needs and try to satisfy them.
  • Most of the youth see little to no work opportunities for themselves in their communities. The opportunities that they do see are to work as a day labourer in construction or agriculture, transportation or small projects.
  • Even though many youth want to positively contribute to their communities, the participants in the focus group discussions noted a lack of opportunities and cite psychological problems and depression among youth as a result.
  • Conflicts occur more often within the youths’ neighbourhood, as compared with their groups of friends or families. Political differences, money as well as food, medicine and fuel more often cause conflicts than religious differences.