Bringing Light to the People of Yemen Through Solar

Elder, Abdullah Alwaili, 65 year old, is a beneficiary of this project. He is from Bani Alwaili village, Wesab Alali, Dhamar governorate. Abdullah works on farming and that is his only source of income to provide the needs of his family, consisting of a father, mother, and five children (3 sons and 2 daughters).

Abdullah, like many countryside residents, depended on classic kerosene lamps as a main source of lighting. He had to pay at least $1 every day to buy kerosene, from his daily income of $3. In addition, his family depends on wood to cook food, and when it is unavailable they use carton boxes or plastic containers.

“Our daily focus is to secure necessary food, adding to the fact that we are spending most of what we earn on gas (kerosene) and wood for lighting and cooking. Moreover, most of us, especially women, are vulnerable to diseases such as chest inflammations and migraines. For instance, my wife got sick more than once last year due to indoor air pollution from traditional ways of lighting and cooking. When we take her to the hospital, they say it’s because of the smoke inhaled from kerosene lamps, or when she cooks with wood and empty plastic water bottles. For now we solve the problem of using traditional lights, however, I hope if I can help her and find another way for cooking.” said Abdullah.

But in recent months, and as part of the Yemen Emergency Electricity Access Project (YEEAP), Abdullah’s family finally got electricity for lighting through solar energy. Abdullah received a 20 watt solar system from Tadhamon Microfinance Institution, which allows him to keep the lights on in his house at night.



YEEAP seeks to improve access to electricity in rural and peri-urban areas within the Republic of Yemen. The project is financed by the World Bank with a grant from the International Development Association (IDA), and is implemented by UNOPS. The three-year project will finance distributed solar solutions to provide urgently-needed access to electricity in Yemen.

Through cooperation with Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs), YEEAP assists in setting up financing windows for high-quality, small-scale solar solutions for rural and peri-urban households. UNOPS is providing solar systems to the MFIs for distribution to eligible beneficiaries in Yemen on cash/credit basis, and at a subsidized price to make the systems affordable.

This will build a more inclusive and sustainable solar market in Yemen through targeted financing, expanding its reach to the poor and vulnerable while improving the quality of off-grid energy access products and services. It is also expected to bring down the cost of solar products for the targeted households. The project targets to restore electricity supply to 200,000 households (1,340,000 people) over three years, until 2021. Moreover, UNOPS with WB is working to exploring clean cooking solutions based on the fact that there is such demand from the ground.

 “We had started to lose hope that the situation of the country will improve. Since the war started we have been forgotten and living in darkness, deprived of any services or help in our area. Light was a dream for us that only the rich had. Now, praise to Allah, we have hope that things will improve, if not for us then for our children and grandchildren,” Abdullah said.


YEEAP aims to increase resilience in rural areas where 70% of Yemen’s population lives, and seeks to address the current development crisis by restoring electricity supplies to vital facilities like hospitals, schools, and water companies, as well as at the household level, while also addressing the economic, social and environmental impact of energy.