From Unemployment to Successful Community Animal Health Worker

Thursday 26 January 2017







Ayman (26) was an unemployed young man from Alsouk village in Almilah district of Lahj governorate, in southern Yemen. He comes from a very poor family. Ayman was trained by Save the Children to be a Community Animal Health Worker (CAHW). He was trained on how to provide veterinary support and to treat common animal diseases. The knowledge he gained enabled him to become a well-known CAHW in his community and he started to get a better income for his family.


Life before SCI’s Intervention


Ayman (26) is a single young man who lives with his family in a very small house in Alsouk area of Almilah district in Lahj governorate, in southern Yemen.


Ayman studied at a health institute for 3 years. His family’s tough financial circumstances meant he couldn’t afford to continue his higher education, so he left school and wished to have a decent job. However, without qualifications, he remained unemployed for about two years.


He lives with his parents, four brothers and two sisters. His family’s main source of income was his father’s pension, estimated at 18,000 YER (58 USD) per month. Such a small amount of income did not cover the monthly essential food needs for the family, and his young brothers soon began to show clear symptoms of malnutrition


“I remember the harsh moments when I was without a job. It was difficult for me to see my family’s needs while being unable to offer any assistance or support to them. We didn’t have enough food. Many times we were compelled to reduce the number of daily meals from three to two,” Ayman said. “The symptoms of weakness and malnutrition clearly appeared on my younger brothers.”


“Our house is composed of one single room. We are all crowded in that room.”


From Unemployment to Successful Community Animal Health Worker


In mid-2014, Save the Children, with support from DFID, implemented the Food Security and Livelihoods Project. Under the Livelihoods component, the Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) training was implemented. Ayman was selected to be enrolled in the CAHWs training. He successfully completed the basic training on animal health and was provided with a vet toolkit. He received additional short refreshment trainings later.


He started to prove himself as a good community animal health worker. Day by day, he gained the confidence and respect of the livestock owners in his area.


“I provide treatment to the sick animals in many villages and the animals’ owners are happy with my service. I receive calls on a daily basis from different areas to diagnose animals. I provide them with the appropriate medicines,” Ayman stated.


“I faced difficulties to treat some of the cases at the beginning. I documented all the difficulties that I faced and presented them during the refresher trainings to get the needed technical support from Save the Children’s trainer. I overcame the challenges I faced through the refresher trainings that took place during 2016. I have gained more technical knowledge and given additional veterinary drugs. I have recently extended my service to other surrounding areas.”


“Picking a Smile for Save the Children”


Ayman stated that his income now reaches 30,000 YER (100 USD) per month, instead of the family’s entire monthly income of 58 USD. “Now I can help my family. I can cover the gap in food and health needs of the family and buy enough flour, vegetables and fruits. I am intending to build a new room instead of our one-room house,” he said.


“My family is proud of me and the support I give to my community,” Ayman said and added: “Thanks to Save the Children for changing my life.”


“If I can pick one of the good things that I have seen and share it with Save the Children, it would be a smile of a woman after I saved one of her livestock.”


Save the Children’s Livelihoods Team is providing the required support for Ayman and follows up his performance. He has treated 126 cases of sheep, goat, cattle and camel diseases, including difficult diseases like pneumonia, external wounds, external and internal parasites, diarrhea, manage, fractures, castration, mastitis and obstructed labor. The mortality rate among animals in his area has decreased recently.


Project information and major issues:


Save the Children, financed by DFID, runs the Emergency Cash and Food voucher Programme for Conflict affected people in Lahj governorate of Yemen to address the most urgent humanitarian needs and build resilience. It provides an integrated package of unconditional cash transfers (UCT), nutrition activity, livelihoods support or protection, training community animal health workers (CAHWs) to support community-based animal health services, and providing them with veterinary inputs.