Blog post

Technology brings change and hope to Yemen

By Jay Mahanand, Chair of the ETC and Chief Information Officer, World Food Programme

Flying back to Rome from Yemen over the weekend, my mind was on the incredible achievements of the colleagues working on that operation from the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC).

There is a strong dependence on ETC services from the different UN agencies and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) working in the area. But the ETC’s impact in Yemen is being felt far outside the UN compounds around the country. 

For example, the cluster ran a rehabilitation project at Aden Airport where over 140 thousand commercial passengers have enjoyed free access to the WiFi in addition to the 3,500 humanitarian responders transiting through.

Because of the ETC, four hospitals in the city of Aden now have a VHF network connecting their ambulances, allowing paramedics to reach patients faster.

And because of the ETC, medical students at Aden University have the connectivity and equipment they need to keep studying. Read the story from Sarah Eshaq, “Reconnecting young people with a brighter future amid conflict-ridden Yemen” on ReliefWeb.

When the critical communications infrastructure in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, was damaged by airstrikes in early 2022, most humanitarian agencies, especially INGOs, were cut off from the Internet, making it hard for them to continue their critical work. The ETC extended its connectivity services to maximum capacity in the area, serving the entire humanitarian community.

When the ETC began its operation in Yemen in 2017, there were no women on the WFP IT or ETC teams. Today the ETC team in Sana’a has a fifty-fifty gender balance. Yemeni women IT professionals are part of the IT help desk, lead training courses, and can answer queries from women humanitarians who, for cultural reasons, may prefer to get technical help from another woman.

In Yemen, the ETC works just as hard to serve local people as it does to meet the needs of the international community and humanitarians, living up to lead agency WFP’s core objective of not only saving lives, but changing them as well.

Follow what’s happening in Yemen on the ETC operational page.

First Photo: Me and Wali Noor, Yemen ETC Coordinator

Group photo, from left to right: 

Ruaa Nasser ETC IT support Associate, Sarah Eshaq ETC IM Associate, Dalia Mansour, Regional IT Officer, Anna Miroshnichenko, WFP Yemen Deputy Country Director, Jay Mahanand, WFP Chief Information Officer, Wali Noor, Yemen ETC Coordinator, Alaa Abdo ETC IT Support Assistant, Waheed Habib WFP Country Office Head of IT

ETC and WFP IT Teams in Yemen