The Arab Spring marked the beginning of a year of uncertainty and violence for the people of Yemen.
On 11 November the BBC reported that 11 more lives were lost in fighting between the government and the opposition forces adding to the hundreds killed in violence between security forces and demonstrators since February.
Echoing calls from neighbouring Arab countries for President Saleh to step down, the UN envoy, Jamal Benomar, was recently in Yemen seeking "an inclusive transition process that meets the needs and aspirations of all Yemenis".
But President Saleh, despite having agreed to a peace plan that includes his resignation, has so far failed to implement a transition process.
As 2012 approaches, it looks like the future will be increasingly uncertain for the people of the Arab world’s most impoverished country. Continued instability makes it hard for people to travel and get hold of essentials such as food and water, which have risen sharply in price. In addition, many are experiencing unemployment, especially those who rely on casual labour. The longer the crisis persists, the harder life gets for the ordinary people at the sharp end.
Progressio's work in Yemen
Progressio’s programmatic work in Yemen, despite having been severely disrupted this year, has been able to continue through the work of our national staff and local partner organisations. Our country representative in Yemen, Abeer Al-Absi, said:
"One of the objectives of the Arab spring is to have a real democratic system in the Arab countries which encourages poor and marginalised people to participate in the decisions that affect their lives. This is a great opportunity for Progressio to work under this theme in Yemen as this is the current need.
"During this period Progressio Yemen has faced many challenges caused by the deteriorating security situation. The problem of power cuts and road blocks are additional challenges to all of the agencies working in Yemen.
"Despite these challenges, our partners have shown great commitment to implement the projects. It's worth mentioning that they expressed their gratitude to Progressio for not suspending the projects and for the commitment of developing poor people and civil society in Yemen."
It is hoped that the situation will not disrupt the work of five new development workers recruited this November to work on local governance and water management.
Photo: Yemeni boys playing table-football. (Nick Sireau / Progressio)