Yemeni Humanitarian Organisation Receives Nansen Refugee Award

The winner of the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award for 2021 is the Jeel Albena Association for Humanitarian Development, a Yemeni humanitarian group that has helped tens of thousands of people caught up in the country’s strife. 

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, named the award on Wednesday. Every year, the medal honours an individual or organisation that goes above and above the call of duty to assist displaced or stateless persons. 

Mr Grandi stated in a statement that Jeel Albena goes above and beyond in assisting individuals on all sides of Yemen’s war. “Its personnel and volunteers have stayed put throughout the conflict, working quietly on the ground in the face of adversity, at a time when many others have fled,” he said. 

They’ve built 18,000 emergency shelters for internally displaced persons and their host communities, frequently close to the frontlines. Their work has also provided a means of livelihood for thousands of people and served as a vehicle for the restoration of basic human dignity. 

Mr Grandi said Jeel Albena’s motto is “By Yemenis, for Yemenis” and that it “exemplifies its spirit of local community action”. 

The organisation, which began with only fifteen employees in June 2017, now employs over 150 people, with over 40% of them coming from displaced communities. 

The group works in the governorates of Hudaydah, Hajjah, Al Mahwit, and Raymah, which together house 25% of Yemen’s internally displaced people. 

Ameen Jubran, the charity’s founder, will accept the award on behalf of the organisation. 

Mr Jubran began working with displaced persons while still in university and hasn’t stopped since. He was nearly killed in the battle and, like many of his colleagues, has firsthand experience with displacement. 

Since the crisis began, four million people have abandoned their homes in search of safety. Around 80% of those displaced have been there for more than a year, putting their ability to cope, as well as that of their hosts, to the test. 

The Nansen Refugee Award is awarded by a commission led by the Norwegian and Swiss governments, in addition to the UNHCR.