This work is the result of fruitful collaboration between the department of cooperation in the French Embassy in Sana'a and CEFAS (French CEnter for Archeology and Social Sciences in Sanna). It aims to present a joint reflection on experiences in gender and development projects, and to join in the debate they foster not only in Yemen, but on a much wider scale as well, beyond cultural and contextual particularities. This initiative connects with practical and critical research concerned with the transnational promotion of civil society, participation, empowerment and capacity building through various development and assistance schemes. It is divided up into two parts: firstly, a contribution by Blandine Destremau, aiming to provide a sense of perspective to the patterns of development implemented and experimented in Yemen, by sketching a critical history of ideas and institutions dealing with issues of gender and development. Secondly, an impact assessment carried out in the field by Maggy Grabundzija, an anthropologist, focusing on two projects funded by the French Social Development Fund, chosen for their engagement in girls' education in rural areas.