Vocational Training and Employment Opportunities for Returnees in West Mosul

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More than a year and a half after ISIL’s last stronghold in Mosul, Iraq fell, former residents are finally returning home. These returnees require much support as the infrastructure and homes that were destroyed have yet to be fully restored. Peace Winds Japan (PWJ), as an implementing partner of the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), is conducting vocational training in construction activities for vulnerable returnees under a project titled “Support to Reconstruction and Peacebuilding of Liberated Cities in Iraq.” Trainees will also be provided with employment opportunities as laborers through local construction companies and contractors.

PWJ, in collaboration with the Canadian Aid Organization for International Society Rehab (CAOFISR), is providing vocational training for returnees to Zanjilli District, Mosul City, Iraq and subsequent employment opportunities. Building self-reliance for the returnees is a priority as technical skills are limited and employment opportunities scarce. First, PWJ assessed the needs and available capacities of the returnees to design a useful and practical training program. CAOFISR provided technical staff as trainers for the 2-3-week program, while PWJ met with local contractors and companies to understand the best way to incorporate the graduates into their businesses.

By March 29, training for four groups (50 people in total) was completed; and on April 7, a graduation ceremony was organized to promote their achievement. Certificates and tool kits were distributed and for these training graduates the next step was to gain employment. A job fair helped match local construction companies with graduates.

The graduates began their internships to use what they had learned during their training and positions such as painters, carpenter assistants, welders, and plasterers were available to them. Particular attention was paid to finding employment for women as they are often in more vulnerable conditions and some found jobs as painters.

To monitor the employment record of the returnees and ensure their well-being, routine check-ins are scheduled and survey questions are given to the graduates. Tracking how often they use their new skills on the job and whether they are employed independently or through a company allows PWJ to evaluate the impact of the project. The hiring companies was also contacted to ascertain graduate job performance, whether they intend to continue employing the graduates, and any additional skills that may be useful to the company.

Peace Winds Japan, in accordance with our mission statement to provide humanitarian relief including rehabilitation and community development, is committed to assisting the returning displaced people of Mosul. We would like to thank our partners in this project, UN-Habitat and Canadian Aid Organization for International Society Rehab (CAOFISR) for their generous support.

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