Al-Dhalea..Service Projects with Self-efforts

Due to the complete absence of the governing authorities
Mohsen Fadhl
September 24, 2022

Al-Dhalea..Service Projects with Self-efforts

Due to the complete absence of the governing authorities
Mohsen Fadhl
September 24, 2022

The areas located in the north of Al-Dhalea governorate (about 250 kilometers south of Sanaa), which are under the control of Ansar Allah (Houthis), are suffering of the collapse of public services, which illustrates the extent of the accumulated misery on the residents of those areas.

From the district of Juban in the east, through the district of Damt, to the district of Al-Hasha in the west, suffering is depicted in its worst forms, and is shaped in several different tragic images, in which there are only reflections of a dire situation and gloomy conditions, produced by an absurd war that has been going on for seven years, which restored the lifestyle in these areas to the time of the Middle Ages.

For seven years, the "Ansar Allah" group has been controlling the northern areas of Al-Dhalea governorate, which include (Damt, Jubban, Al-Hasha, and rural parts of Qa'ataba district). Throughout this period, the group offered the people of those areas nothing but collecting more taxes and levies; such as cleaning and national improvement fees. This in addition to the financial sums that are imposed on local people on the grounds of supporting the fighting fronts under the name of “jihad with money.”

Despite the huge financial revenues, that it gained from the residents of the areas north of Al-Dhalea, the group did not even bother to bridge in a single pothole in any of the wrecked roads.

Roads jeopardize citizens' lives

In early 2006, a number of districts in the north of Al-Dhalea were connected to a number of paved road networks, most notably the road linking the two districts (Damt and Juban), as well as the roads linking the district of Damt to Al-Nadra (Ibb governorate). However, these roads did not last for long, and soon it became worn out after 10 years of its establishment, due to the corruption and fraud that marred the implementation of these projects.

During the war that has been going on for more than seven years, the condition of these roads has become very deteriorated, and in many parts of it, these roads are no longer usable, and driving through it has become a big risky adventure for most drivers.

Thus, most of the citizens in the northern areas of Al-Dhalea have come to realize that whoever being in charge of the control in their area, does not have a priority to provide public services, establish projects, or to support the public interest. As a result, the hopeless local citizens have no choice but to join hands in order to achieve their common interests.

Moreover, the dilapidated roads, have claimed the lives of dozens of citizens since the outbreak of the war in 2015 until today regardless of the full view of the officials of the Ansar Allah group (Houthis), without doing any intervention to mitigate this risk. 

Community-based Initiatives

“Out of the womb of suffering, miracles are born,” a saying that fully applies to the societal efforts made by the people of the northern Al Dhala’e areas, especially in the two districts of Damt and Juban, which yielded in the construction of paved secondary roads, as well as the rehabilitation and maintenance of major roads with self-efforts.

The entry point of these initiatives was launched in the village of Al-Khudhayria, Hajjaj province, Juban District, where the villagers worked on paving the secondary road extending from the main road linking Damt and Jubban, to the center of the village, which is about nine kilometers long, at the cost of one million and 765 thousand (USD).

However, the village of Al-Khudhayria was not the only village benefiting from the pavement of this road, but several villages located in the vicinity of the village benefited from it including; the village of Al-Qawari, the village of Al-Qahhalil, the village of Al-Mahajar, the village of Moth, and the village of Al-Fareea', in addition to the villages of Al-Sarah, Mayfaan and Shura'a. As the people of these villages began to collect donations from local villagers to finance the project of the paved road to their neighboring villages.

Not far from the village of Al-Khudhayria, the residents of the neighboring village of Muharram Hajjaj have managed to construct a secondary road leading to the village, after it remained a critical concern for the residents and those who travel to it. In fact, access to the village was limited to certain powerful vehicles, due to the rugged road that passes via a valley through which torrents of rain flow from the high mountains surrounding the village from three sides.

In this context, since November last year (2021), the people of the villages of the Hubaishia and Hajjaj areas began their self-initiative to restore the main road linking the districts of Damt and Juban. The local people collected tens of millions as a first phase, to launch the process of repairing the dilapidated road, which has become a concern for all travelers through it.

The targeted road, which is witnessing the maintenance process, is about 17 kilometers, and extends from the village of Dar Al-Hajj in the east, to the city of Damt in the west. Moreover, all these maintenance efforts were accomplished by the people’s own struggles based on personal donations and the support of expatriates from the same area.

It worth to mention that this road is of great importance, as it connects two districts, namely: Damt and Juban, in addition to linking Al-Dhalea governorate with Al-Baidha governorate through Rada'a district. In addition, the road is serving tens of thousands of citizens who live in the sprawling villages along the road.

Inevitable Justifications

When a visitor arrives to those areas in the north, the first question comes to his mind would be: Why do the people build and repair roads at their own expense, in light of the difficult economic conditions that the Yemeni population is going through in general?!

At that, the answer to the question is unanimously agreed by a large number of citizens interested in following up on the implementation of these projects, that the reason is their absolute despair over the absence of a state that takes care of their interests and provides them with basic services and the roads is among the most important services.

In addition, most citizens in the northern districts of Al-Dhalea are aware that whoever manages their area does not have a priority to work on providing services, establishing projects, and achieving the public interest. Therefore, they had no choice but to join hands in order to achieve their common interests, which is what happened, starting with their eagerness to continue the educational process by providing teachers’ salaries, building classrooms, constructing roads and water barriers.

Moreover, among the reasons that called the people in these areas to implement such projects, is the dire need of the residents of the area to these roads, after the increase in the number of vehicles owned by citizens of different types, in addition to the feeling of responsibility, in the need to work to reduce the high rate of traffic accidents resulting from the deterioration of the roads.

Positive Reflections

Societal solidarity in the north of Al-Dhalea reflected a positive image in the extent of the sense of common interest and the close interdependence between residents of villages and areas, in addition to the support of the expatriates, who played a major role in the implementation of such service projects. Most important of all, is the birth of the idea of ​​community initiatives at the level of the area, which was of great significance in achieving the public interest, away from the narrow partisan and regional biases.

finally; do the parties to the conflict and those who caused this war realize, when they watch these projects that are implemented with self-efforts, that war is nothing but a demolition tool, only used by those who cannot build. It shall be noted that the time has come to put an end to this war in order to create an opportunity for recovery, reconstruction and reforms, and to achieve the least it can be done for the sake of achieving everyone's interest.

Mohsen Fadhl

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