Over 300 participants, mostly youth, gathered in Baghdad on 12-14 October 2017 to participate in UNDP’s Innovation for Development workshop.

Design Thinking and Lean Start-up methodologies were introduced as innovative tools to identify local development challenges and find solutions linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Iraq has adopted in early 2016.

Design Thinking is a human centered approach to planning projects and businesses. It depends on empathizing with target groups or customers, as well as visualizing ideas and solutions. On the other hand, Lean Start-up methodology focuses on learning about the customers and building sustainable projects around solutions and ideas.

The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to present their ideas to representatives of both the private and public sectors, such as the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministries of Youth and Sport, Industry, Labour and Social Affairs, Higher Education, and Planning, in addition to the Technology and Al-Nahrain Universities, Syndicate of Engineers, Chamber of Commerce and Ashur Bank. The participants were also informed about respective governmental and non-governmental opportunities and programmes.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized this workshop under its Innovation for Development Initiative, with funding from King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) and in partnership with Zain Iraq, GigaNet and Frame Production House companies.

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

HRH The Prince of Wales has paid tribute to the work of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

Addressing the celebration in London’s Lancaster House on Wednesday, Prince Charles said:

Today is an opportunity to honour the work of the remarkable AMAR teams … whose professionalism has delivered extraordinary outcomes in health and education for so many people over these twenty-five years.

“Each and every one of them, whether they work in Iraq or in another part of the Middle East, or in London or Washington, should feel deeply proud of all that AMAR has achieved. So too, should the many businesses and commercial entities – and in particular the Iraq Britain Business Council [IBBC] – whose magnificent support over the years has made all of this work possible.

“If I may, I would also like to pay a special tribute to Baroness Nicholson whose indefatigable leadership and extraordinary professionalism has been so crucially important to this endeavour for so many years.

He continued:

“AMAR has given us all reason to have faith in humanity. It has saved countless lives, created hope from despair and achieved nothing short of miracles.”

AMAR thanked the Prince for his wonderful support of the organisation since its founding, and in particular as its Patron for the past thirteen years.

Please help ensure Iraq’s children have the childhoods they deserve — support AMAR’s work today: https://appeal.amarfoundation.org/

(Sources: AMAR International Charitable Foundation, Clarence House)

By the end of the third quarter of 2017, UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) was undertaking 1,208 projects in 23 cities across five governorates in Iraq.

Over one quarter of the projects were being implemented in the city of Mosul, which was fully liberated in July 2017. The liberation of all of Mosul marked an important milestone in the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), representing the biggest city to have been retaken by the Iraqi Security Forces as well as the most complex stabilization challenge to date.

Mosul’s road to recovery has only begun, especially in West Mosul where the destruction is unprecedented. Access to all portions of the city on the western side remains a challenge in some parts, especially the Old City which was almost completely destroyed.

The Funding Facility is working with the Government of Iraq to prioritize the response, focusing on restarting public services and setting the conditions for people to come home with dignity.

In a dozen cities where FFS is cleared to work, many basic services are now functioning. From Ramadi and Fallujah to Tikrit and Qayara, returnees have much improved access to water, health, and electricity services. Schools are being reopened and university campuses are bustling with students.

Whilst a colossal amount of work remains to be done, there is palpable progress being made. Nearly 900 projects completed or ongoing in FFS areas outside of Mosul are helping create the sense that there is momentum and the Government of Iraq is helping returnees.

Governorates that have been liberated for over a year are beginning to transition from immediate stabilization to expanded stabilization priorities. In Anbar, Salah al-Din, and Diyala, expanded stabilization projects that were being designed and procured are increasingly being implemented.

Twenty-four donors have contributed US$ 426,611,814 as of 30 September 2017, and approximately $300,000,000 in hard pledges are expected to be mobilized in the fourth quarter of 2017. This report provides an overview of all FFS activities underway during the third quarter, which encompasses 1 July – 30 September 2017.

Highlights

  • In Mosul, 350 projects are being implemented or developed, 250 schools were assessed, and water has been restored to 300,000 residents in East Mosul
  • In the Ninewah Plains, 45 schools were completed or being rehabilitated. Work on the Hamdaniyah Hospital, the first Expanded Stabilization project in the Ninewah Plains, is underway
  • Two major bridges in Anbar were reopened, and another five are being implemented
  • Housing rehabilitation in Fallujah and Ramadi targeted over 6,000 homes
  • Five segments of the Tikrit Teaching Hospital are complete; the rehabilitation of the main building will begin soon

The full report can be downloaded here (7.6MB)

(Source: UNDP)

On Tuesday, the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) competes with other charities for a share of $75,000 in bonus funds.

The more you give, the more bonus funds we earn for Iraqi orphans, street kids, and children displaced by conflict.

EXTRA BONUS:  New monthly donors are eligible for  a 1-month match.  Sign up for $10, $25, $50, $100 – up to $200 – in monthly giving and get an extra month match.

Still not sure whether to give?  Think of these children (All names changed for privacy):

  • Rana (10) who loved the Hope Bus but still worked on the streets and died after being hit by car;
  • Teenage Hasan who wanted a job to support a poor widowed mother but got targeted by a man trafficking in human organs who wanted his kidney;
  • Noor (13) who worked on the street and was nearly married off by a poor aunt who needed the dowry;
  • Little orphan boys, Khalid and Ali (6 and7), who were exploited by an uncle who forced them to beg on the street.

All of these children – and hundreds more – have been helped by your gifts.   Many more are waiting…

(Source: ICF)

By John Lee.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has welcomed three new members, bringing its membership to 59 companies.

Menzies Aviation: An independent, time-critical logistics specialist serving the airline industry to the highest standards. At more than 200 airport locations across 6 continents, Menzies offer landside and airside services tailored to customers’ needs; timed to their schedules; and delivered by teams with the knowledge, tools and passion to set standards rather than chase them.

XReach: A leading supplier of mobile communications and cyber security solutions to businesses, government, military and law enforcement agencies. It employs high-end system, network and coding development personnel sourced from specialist UK military and government cyber security backgrounds.

The University of Leicester: A leading university committed to international excellence, world-changing research and high quality, inspirational teaching. The University celebrates diversity amongst staff and students; widening participation in higher education and engaging with local, national and international communities.

(Source: IBBC)

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Office (HRO) in cooperation with the Ministry of Education in Kurdistan Region of Iraq organized a four-day training course in Erbil for 23 teacher, including 9 females, during 13 – 16 November on human rights education.

This was the second in a series of courses organized by HRO and supported by the Flemish Government and the Ministry of Education in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I).

Mr. Yousif Othman, Director-General of the Planning Department in Ministry of Education in KR-I welcomed the training, which targets Public School teachers in KR-I. He also highlighted the importance of mainstreaming human rights principles in the curricula and teaching methods and techniques.

Ms. Shahla Saeed, Human Rights Education Project Manager at HRO emphasized the role of teachers in influencing students’ attitudes in line with human rights values and fundamental freedoms in schools.

The overall goal of the training focused on raising awareness of teachers and supervisors of secondary schools on human rights education in Erbil Governorate and its surroundings and districts (Soran, Koya, Khabat, Makhmour and Shaqlawa).

(Source: UNAMI)

Iraq Britain Business Council holds successful Autumn Conference in Dubai

Following on from the first Iraq Britain Business Council conference in Dubai in 2016, the IBBC was delighted to host its Autumn Conference in the UAE once again. The event was strongly supported by the UAE authorities.

Alongside Baroness Nicholson, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq and President of the IBBC, the conference was opened by H.E. Mr. Abdulla Ahmed Al Saleh, Under Secretary for Foreign Trade and Industry, UAE Ministry of Economy.

H.E. Mr. Abdulla reminded delegates that non-Oil & Gas related trade between the UAE and Iraq had already passed 11 Billion USD in 2016, with Dubai in particular being a hub for local and international companies in the region.

H.E. Mr. Abdulla firmly believes that the UAE’s role in the rebuilding of Iraq will continue to expand and expressed his wish to cooperate with organisations such as the IBBC to accomplish this crucial task.

Vikas Handa, IBBC UAE Representative and the Managing Partner of the Emirati Company DrillTech, warmly thanked the minister and stated that the IBBC stands ready to work even more closely with the UAE in Iraq.

The Government of Iraq sent a high calibre ministerial delegation led by H.E. Mr Qasim Al-Fahdawi, The Minister of Electricity, to the conference. The delegation included H.E. Mrs Ann Naufi Aussi Balbool, Minister of Construction Housing and Public Municipalities; H.E. Kadhim Fijan Al Hamami, Minister of Transport; H.E. Dr Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission (NIC); and H.E. Mr Fayadh Hassan Nima, Deputy Minister of Oil for refining affairs.

The conference was structured around several sessions in which the Iraqi officials and international companies operating successfully in Iraq, most of which are members of the IBBC, exchanged their views and experiences.

These sessions focused on strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of the economy in Iraq, Reconstruction & Infrastructure, Transport, Power and Oil & Gas. In parallel, a series of high level round-table discussions between investors and Iraqi Government representatives took place.

The conference included for the first time a presentation on the rapidly developing Tech sector in Iraq , given by the CEO of Zain.

IBBC thanks the International Finance Corporation (World Bank) and the IMF for its participation. Thanks also go to the IBBC members who sponsored the conference: Gold Sponsor International Islamic Bank; Silver Sponsors Serco and Gulftainer; Lunch Sponsor Rolls-Royce; pre-reception Sponsor Wood; and Coffee Break Sponsors Eversheds Sutherland and KCA Deutag.

IBBC Managing Director, Christophe Michels, stated that the increasing involvement of the UAE and wider GCC with Iraq was a game changer for the country. The IBBC very much welcomes this development and is delighted to be part of it and support it. The organisation will increase its presence in the UAE and the Autumn Conference in Dubai will become a regular feature in its calendar of events.

(Source: IBBC)

Hundreds of thousands of children and their families in Iraq who have suffered the pain of brutal conflict and displacement will have regular access to lifesaving clean drinking water and services that respond to gender based violence thanks to help from the U.S. government.

With the latest contribution of nearly 9 million US$ from the United States Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), UNICEF and its partners will be able to provide safe drinking water to families living in displacement camps as part of its emergency first line response, as well as repair damaged water supply infrastructure.

OFDA’s generous assistance will also help bring age-appropriate and survivor-centered community-based multi-sector services to survivors of gender based violence.

Hamida Ramadhani, UNICEF’s deputy representative in Iraq, said:

“The provision of multi-sector support services to women and children who carry invisible wounds as a result of conflict, gender-based violence and large-scale displacement is particularly important to help them cope and to re-build their lives.”

Nearly five million children are in dire need of humanitarian assistance in Iraq. UNICEF continues to count on the United States as a major global donor of humanitarian and development assistance to respond to the most urgent needs of the most vulnerable children around the world.

(Source: UN)

By Zep Kalb for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

In the aftermath of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the country’s educational system all but collapsed. Illiteracy rates have exploded. Universities have turned into sectarian battlegrounds.

Systemic violence — including beatings, rape and death threats — has forced students and faculty out of campuses. As state provision of higher education has receded, private donors have set up alternative institutions, often with a sectarian and religious twist. Foreign actors have also stepped in to fill the void.

Before the US-led invasion, education indicators in oil-rich, Baathist-controlled Iraq improved similarly as in other middle-income countries, and in several ways even more so. The country’s first university, Baghdad University, opened its doors in 1957. In 1968, the government made education free and compulsory at all levels.

In 1977, the eradication of illiteracy was made legally binding. The developmental push appeared to be working. By 1980, Iraq had already achieved near universal primary school enrollment.

Saddam Hussein’s devastating eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s and the sanctions imposed by the West over his invasion of Kuwait in the 1990s slowed these gains.

By 2000, the literacy rate of youth aged 15-24 years old stood at 84.8%, slightly higher than that of regional neighbor Egypt. The gender gap was also narrowing: Female literacy rates stood at 80.5% in 2000, a figure Egypt reached only in 2006. At the same time, underinvestment in education by a cash-strapped government led to an aged and creaking infrastructure.

For all its ills, the collapse of the Baathist regime in 2003 and its replacement with a US-installed government wrecked the country’s educational system. Junior, inexperienced American officers who failed to understand the complexities of maintaining peace between the sects were put in charge of higher education.

Agility has opened a state-of the-art training facility, known as the Center of Excellence, at the Rumaila Energy Park in southern Iraq.

In partnership with Strategic Analytics Team (SAT), the Center of Excellence offers training courses for the local workforce in the oil and gas industry, led by internationally accredited trainers.

Training covers a wide variety of topics, including health and safety, lifting and hoisting, defensive driving and logistics solutions. With SAT’s expertise in the field of operational logistics, courses will meet international oil and gas industry standards and focus on developing accredited local content, while enhancing the capabilities of Iraq-based contractors.

The Rumaila Energy Park is a one million-square meter, fully serviced industrial park developed by Agility Real Estate to provide a one-stop-shop for companies operating in southern Iraq. The park includes warehouse facilities, workshops, lay-down yards and offices. It is strategically close to the region’s major oil and gas subcontractors.

The inauguration was attended by representatives from oil and gas companies and academic institutions, as well as Iraqi government officials.

Colin Hindley, CEO, Agility Iraq, said:

“The Center of Excellence is part of Agility’s ongoing commitment to building Iraq’s infrastructure and human capital. We are strongly committed to building local capacity in our areas of operations, and this new center is part of this strategy.”

Paul Jorgensen, Senior Partner, Strategic Analytics Team, said:

Our partnership with Agility makes the Center of Excellence the first of its type in the Gulf region. At SAT, we take pride in our knowledge and skills in the logistics business, and we are in a unique position to impart the same to aspiring professionals seeking further development.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for both SAT and Agility. With a fully developed culture of learning in an open environment that enables access to the latest information and technological innovations, we want the Center of Excellence to become the go-to resource for both logistics companies and students.”

Agility Iraq has offices in Basra, Baghdad, and Erbil, serving international airports and the ports of Umm Qasr and Khor Al Zubair.

Agility’s operations include freight forwarding (air, ocean, road), cross-border trucking, customs clearance, project logistics, open yard/warehousing distribution, approved HSSE training and route surveys. All of Agility’s operations in Iraq are ISO 9001, ISO 14000, OHSAS 18001-certified.

(Source: Agility)