Light Shines Through the Darkness of War

Bandar, 40 years old, is a beneficiary of the Yemen Emergency Electricity Access Project (YEEAP). He is from Alrawqi village, Wesab Alali, Dhamar governorate.

As many victims of the conflict in Yemen, he used to own a business in Taiz city, but is now struggling to earn a living by using his motorbike. The bike is the last he had of his property after returning to his small village of Alrawqi. Bandar works on providing for his family of six;, himself, his wife and four children, in addition to his mother and father whom he takes care of. Therefore, he has to start working at first hours of dawn until sunset.

Like many residents in his area, Bandar does not have any source of power except a portable light that works on batteries. He lights it up and all members of the family sit around it. Even the children use it to study at night.

 “Like any father, I dream that my children will grow up to a better future than this. I am determined that they complete their studies even if they all have to come beside this vague light to study. They are also determined like me that they have to fight and continue their education,” says Bandar.

When the batteries of the light are drained, Bandar removes his bike’s battery to use it as better lighting source when a guest comes to visit even for a few hours in the night.

Bandar has to pay at least $0.5  every day to get the batteries, although his daily income does not exceed $2 

The World Bank Group’s International Development Association’s Yemen Emergency Electricity Access Project (YEEAP) is working with UNOPS through Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) to set up financing windows for high-quality, small-scale solar solutions for rural and peri-urban households and provide grants in the form of price subsidies to beneficiaries to make systems affordable. It is through this programme that Bandar received off-grid energy access products.

UNOPS is providing solar systems to the MFIs for distribution to eligible beneficiaries in Yemen at a subsidized rate. This will build a more inclusive and sustainable solar market in Yemen through targeted financing to, 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.

Finally, Bandar, has been able to save up what he was paying for batteries, which was a quarter of his income and use it for school supplies for his children. Not only that, he is earning more because he no longer needed to use his bike’s battery for lighting and so he could work more hours.


“I never imagined that a day will come when we have electricity or a solar system due to their high costs especially with the situation and my limited income. Now, praise to Allah, I feel happy that my children can study without fearing the light going out any moment and they sit in the dark.” Bandar.

YEEAP aims at increasing 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.

“YEEAP is one of the projects that came to address one of the most critical needs in current circumstances, especially in rural areas. Citizens are suffering in the countryside, and it’s the same suffering for men, women, and children. That is added to increased prices of some substances that can be used by some as a source of lighting such as gas, candles, petrol, etc. The idea to finance alternative solutions such as household off grid solar systems appeared as an exact suitable solution to cover the needs of the citizens in light of the economic status in the country. The idea ended their suffering from absence of electricity or lowered their need to purchase daily costly alternatives which they are unable to bear. In addition to that, we as microfinance establishments can help by contributing in absorbing the needs of the local market for high quality products and offer such funded grants, which comes as an added experience to us,” Khaled Taher Almasani, Deputy Executive Manager, Tadhamon Microfinance Institution.