Iraq – After the end of the successful first phase of the IOM Iraq - Italian Government partnership to strengthen community stabilization initiatives in Diyala Governorate (between August 2016 to November 2017), a new project has been launched to support the psychosocial well-being of vulnerable displaced women in Dohuk and Ninewa governorates.
Funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), the one-year project, with a budget of half a million euros, will enable IOM Iraq to empower vulnerable women who have been affected by conflict, including through the provision of livelihood support.
The project will aim to involve 1,000 women, including from ethno-religious minorities; especially Yazidis –considered one of the most vulnerable communities of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq.
The Yazidi community is mostly concentrated in northern Iraq. Its members, especially women, went through ordeals when ISIL swept into their areas, beginning in 2014 and seized large swathes of territory, killing and enslaving thousands of Yazidis.
“The active participation of women is essential to reach sustainable peace and community stabilization. This livelihood training will assist vulnerable women to strengthen their skills and allow them to support themselves and their families. We are pleased to provide support, especially during this time of transition, as families continue to recover from devastating conflict,” said Bruno Antonio Pasquino, Italian Ambassador to Iraq.
“Gender and minorities are the two traditional focal points of the Italian activities in the field of development cooperation,” Ambassador Pasquino added.
In addition to individual livelihood support for women, the project will provide a dozen grassroots local civil society organizations (CSOs) with training and follow-up coaching to address the essential psychosocial needs of community members, in partnership with Government of Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government authorities including the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Health.
The training courses will cover a broad range of topics such as psychosocial support and social cohesion, enhancing CSOs management and networking skills, as well as providing beneficiaries with entrepreneurial livelihood support by creating self-help groups to improve interactions, social cohesion, and confidence among them.
“Engaging local CSOs will enable us to transfer the experience we gained over the last three years in providing psychosocial support in emergency contexts, and prepare the community-based partners to take the lead in providing psychosocial services,” said Renato Libanora of IOM Iraq’s psychosocial support team.
The project in Dohuk and Ninewa builds on the similar recently completed project that IOM implemented in Diyala, in partnership with AICS.
Khalida Nouri of Khanaqin, one of Diyala project’s participants, says that the project economically empowered dozens of women by teaching them sewing skills.
“About 44 women participated in the course I taught; they were mostly displaced from their homes, and included Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen,” she said.
“The course’s contents and the interaction among us made me more confident. I learned many things; since taking this course I have become more self-sufficient. I also had an opportunity to learn about other people’s traditions and lifestyles,” Nouri said.
Nouri added that she is still in contact with a number of participants who opened small sewing businesses, either at home or in shops, thanks to the skills they learned in the course. Nouri said that there are now nearly 500 applicants who want to enroll in this course to be able to help themselves and their families.
According to the latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) figures, since January 2014, more than 2.9 million Iraqis are still displaced This includes 941,000 in Ninewa 360,000 in Dohuk and nearly 83,000 in Diyala governorate. More than 2.7 million of formerly displaced Iraqis have returned to their place of origin.
For more information on displacement across Iraq, visit the IOM Iraq DTM Portal: http://iraqdtm.iom.int For more information please contact: Sandra Black in IOM Iraq, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org