Saudi Arabia’s development program delivers change in Yemen

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The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) has launched more than 100 development projects and initiatives throughout Yemen since 2018. (Supplied)
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The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) has launched more than 100 development projects and initiatives throughout Yemen since 2018. (Supplied)
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The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) has launched more than 100 development projects and initiatives throughout Yemen since 2018. (Supplied)
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The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) has launched more than 100 development projects and initiatives throughout Yemen since 2018. (Supplied)
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The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) has launched more than 100 development projects and initiatives throughout Yemen since 2018. (Supplied)
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The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) has launched more than 100 development projects and initiatives throughout Yemen since 2018. (Supplied)
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Updated 02 March 2020

Saudi Arabia’s development program delivers change in Yemen

  • The program is designed to help Yemeni communities gain economic self-sufficiency and combine short-term assistance with long-term projects promoting economic growth
  • Other initiatives led by SDRPY in agriculture and fisheries include the cultivation of more than 435,000 square meters of wheat

RIYADH: The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) has launched more than 100 development projects and initiatives throughout Yemen since 2018.
This continues a legacy of Saudi support that includes $14 billion provided for development in Yemen between 2009-2019.
SDRPY focuses on seven key sectors: agriculture and fisheries, health, water, education, energy, transportation, and government and public-sector infrastructure.
“The program reflects the passion and determination that the Saudi people have always had for helping their Yemeni brothers and sisters,” said Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jabir, Saudi ambassador to Yemen and SDRPY’s general supervisor.
“SDRPY projects have real value in terms of sustainability and capacity-building, as reflected in the three sustainable development pillars: community, economy and environment,” he said.
The program, Al-Jabir said, is designed to help Yemeni communities gain economic self-sufficiency and combine short-term assistance with long-term projects promoting economic growth.
“The program has answered short-term needs repeatedly, including emergency-response operations during cyclones and floods and deliveries of tankers to provide clean water,” he said, adding that the program is also building schools and hospitals and upgrading ports and airports.
Other initiatives led by SDRPY in agriculture and fisheries include the cultivation of more than 435,000 square meters of wheat to increase the productivity of both farming and fishing.
The program also supplied 220 fishing boats equipped with outboard motors, and built boat repair and maintenance facilities. 
In the field of health, the program has supplied Yemeni hospitals with state-of-the-art medical equipment, including Al-Jawf Hospital, serving 18,000 patients a month. It has also built a cardiology center, constructed a full-service dialysis center with 20-patient capacity, and expanded and improved seven general hospitals and health care clinics in Yemen. 
The Saudi Hospital in Hajjah province and the Al-Salam Hospital in Saada — built by the Kingdom in the 1980s and 1990s and now located in areas controlled by the Houthi militias — continue to receive $10 million each annually from Saudi Arabia to cover operating and maintenance expenses.
SDRPY has provided 120 water tankers, improved water distribution networks, including through construction of a 20-km water-supply line with pumping station to expand access to clean water for the metropolitan area of Al-Ghaydah district, and drilled 40 wells equipped with solar-powered pumps.
The program has provided cost-effective systems that ensure people in Yemen have the access to improved water sources that they need to maintain higher health standards and achieve greater efficiency and productivity in their country’s agricultural sector.
Under the program, weapons removed from the hands of children freed from the grip of the militias are replaced with schoolbooks. Children are now armed with books instead of weapons.
SDRPY has built more than 20 schools in Yemen to serve more than 23,400 students each year, delivered more than 500,000 textbooks to 150 schools and more than 6,000 tables and double bench-desks, and supplied enough school buses for students to make more than 280,000 safe journeys between home and school every year.
In higher education, a 300-bed teaching hospital and adjoining university with four colleges of sciences are under construction.
The program has delivered roughly $180 million worth of fuel to 64 power plants across 10 governorates, keeping schools, hospitals, shops, homes and other vital institutions functioning around the clock.
Oil derivatives tripled electricity-generation rates; enhanced safety by lighting major roads; allowed Yemenis to pump drinking water, enhanced hygiene and maintained agriculture and eased strains on the state budget by helping the government to pay the salaries of public-sector employees. 
The SDRPY is developing and increasing the operational capacity of ports in Aden, Mocha, Mukalla, Nishtun and Socotra and has provided cranes for them, facilitating the imports of more than 220,000 tons of oil derivatives. 
The program is constructing an airport in Marib, and developing, expanding and improving airports in Aden and Al-Ghaydah, helping the movement of humanitarian and development aid as well as travel in Yemen.
At the beginning of 2020, SDRPY launched the first phase of the Aden International Airport rehabilitation project, bringing it into compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization standards and expanding its capacity to receive international flights.
The program has built more than 600 km of road throughout Al-Mahra province, and installed solar-powered street and road lighting in districts around Yemen to improve safety and efficiency across the country’s transportation landscape.
The program has constructed a national security and anti-terrorism complex consisting of a command center, training facilities, officers’ quarters, a guesthouse and more than 50 housing units.
SDRPY is closely involved in projects to develop and maintain key government infrastructure, laying the cornerstones for both self-sufficiency and security in Yemen.


Local for local: Saudi businesses find inspiration close to home

Rawan’s Stationery offers mainly Arabic stationary items, agendas, cards for every occasion and Rawan Stationery-designed wrapping paper. (Supplied)
Updated 24 November 2020

Local for local: Saudi businesses find inspiration close to home

  • New brands discover lively demand for clothes and stationery that draw on regional designs

JEDDAH: Rather than aspire for globalized standards and designs, Saudi businesses have started looking inward to represent their surroundings and their cultures.
Surprisingly, the public has reacted favorably. On several occasions, business owners and founders were stunned to find their designs flourishing because people were invested in something that positively represented their identity.
Faisal Al-Hassan, a co-founder of Own Design, said that the most memorable encounter for the fashion brand was during last year’s brand pop-up in the MDL Beast Festival in Riyadh. “People were coming in to grab one of our pieces and they’d immediately leave. That really made us proud and happy seeing people from across the country are familiar with our brand,” he told Arab News.
Own Design started in 2009 when three young men from Alkhobar came together to make money out of their hobby. “We started Own Design as a small project with minimum funds. We were three kids with big dreams. None of us had any background in designing, I have a degree in public administration, but it doesn’t stop me from doing what I love.”
Seven years on, the founders finally moved from makeshift offices in their homes to a concept store in the city.
“Every quarter, we launch a line with a specific theme. Our latest, the Sadu, has been exceptionally popular,” he added.

People welcomed us because there was something different about our stationery. They found products and designs in their mother tongue, which wasn’t available before.

Rawan Khogeer, Owner of Rawan Stationery

It was approximately three years ago that Sadu fabric became trendy, and Own Design wanted to take that design and introduce it into pullovers and then hoodies.
According to the brand’s Instagram, Sadu is “an ancient tribal weaving craft that artistically portrays Arabian nomadic people’s rich cultural heritage and instinctive expression of natural beauty.”
Sadu fabric is known by its vibrant red, green, white and black colors and seemingly geometric weaving.
Own Design’s clothes are designed to represent culture, with lines such as ODxKings featuring popular photographs of Saudi kings on auspicious occasions or popular quotes by them throughout history to merge “national themes with modern apparel.”
The clothing brand has also featured designs coinciding with the Kingdom’s G20 presidency, titled O20 and G20.
“Our designing process is very collaborative; we sit and discuss ideas and each member adds to what’s been said or alters the design in a way the others didn’t think of,” said Al-Hassan.
The brand is known for various limited edition apparel. Their Sadu line manufactures 400 pieces in each color due to the long production process; once it sells out, customers usually have to wait a year when the next Sadu line is launched.
“We’re approaching volume three of the Sadu design, while also collaborating with a special brand on a limited edition product,” he said.
“We have bountiful ideas that we want to showcase to the world, not just Saudi (Arabia) — we want to reach out to other Arabs,” said the co-founder. “(We want) to see foreigners wearing products that have a story.”
Another local business, Rawan Stationery, was started in early 2018 by Rawan Khogeer, a graphic design graduate. “People welcomed us because there was something different about our stationery. They found products and designs in their mother tongue, which wasn’t available before,” she told Arab News.
The market catered mostly to English content in stationeries. The limited Arabic content that was available was also not as pretty in comparison, said the founder.
From a young age, Khogeer’s pastime activity was to visit stationers. She delighted at the start of every term, merely because she got to shop.
She was always fascinated by gift-wrapping paper and the patterns on them. Whenever she visited a gift-wrapping shop, she pledged to open her own shop in the future.
While completing a training program at a company, Khogeer received the news that her mother had suffered an accident. Unable to find a suitable get-well card, she designed one herself.
“I decided to make her a card specifically for her, something that suited her taste, but I chose silver and gold colors, and printers would only print big batches; I was faced with the choice to either change the colors or go ahead with a large print run,” she said.
Khogeer chose the latter, and when her mother saw the card she was elated and told her daughter to start selling them.
Khogeer then went around small gift stores and stationers with her design, while running an Instagram account to publicize her brand. She was also looking into collaboration with stationers in Kuwait and, when they encouraged her, she expanded into the Gulf region.
“Demand was growing and the designs were increasing, and I felt like I’d found myself through this craft. At the same time, other work opportunities, although great, didn’t feel as fulfilling, so I approached Entrepreneurial Institute for support, and I never regretted that decision,” Khogeer said.
It was an adventure visiting governmental entities, carpenters and painters to get Rawan Stationery looking how it does today and fulfilling Khogeer’s dream of establishing a stationery/gift-wrapping store.
“I always wondered why stationers abroad were so meticulous and had such lovely local content, in their own language. I wanted to give that to people here and I wanted to elevate the Arabic language,” she said.
What makes Rawan Stationery different is its originality. It offers mainly Arabic stationery items, agendas, cards for every occasion and Rawan Stationery-designed wrapping paper, and has found a ready market.
As for upcoming projects, Rawan’s Stationery has plans to expand to a second branch soon.