By Kate Denereaz, for the AMAR International Charitable Foundation.

Work is a huge part of our lives. It provides security, meaning and a sense of belonging. It’s part of who we are.

Many AMAR staff, like the people they serve, have been displaced by war and violence. Working for AMAR provides structure and a semblance of normality.

But work means many different things to different people. To mark International Women’s Day, we’re asking some of the women of our workforce, “what does working for AMAR mean to you?

Click here to hear their stories.

(Source: AMAR)

The government of Japan has donated US$3.4 million to provide lifesaving health and nutrition assistance for vulnerable children in conflict affected areas in Iraq.

Approximately 4.2 million people have returned to their homes after fleeing the violence that erupted in 2014, however many find their homes and communities have been reduced to rubbles and essential health services overstretched.

“Across all conflict affected governorates, hospitals have been destroyed and those that are functioning are overwhelmed and struggling to meet health and nutrition needs, placing the lives of the most vulnerable children at risk of deadly diseases, including polio and measles,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative to Iraq.

“Japan has recently decided on a new assistance package for Iraq amounting to 63 million US dollars, including this project as contribution in health and nutrition sectors. With this package, the total amount of Japan’s assistance to the people affected by the crisis in Iraq reaches 500 million US Dollars,” said H.E. Mr. Naofumi Hashimoto, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Iraq said.

UNICEF is grateful to the Government of Japan in their unwavering support to vulnerable children and families in Iraq. Since 2015 UNICEF Iraq has partnered with Government of Japan to support the needs of children caught in cycles of violence.

The latest funding of US$.3.4 million will compliment Japan and UNICEF’s investment for Iraqi children by building the capacity of health workers, strengthening health systems in conflict affected governorates as well as providing immunization and nutrition services to nearly 1 million children and breastfeeding mothers in areas of returns as well as in the camps for displaced people.

(Source: UN)

The EU has announced an additional €30 million in humanitarian assistance. Another €20 million in development funding will contribute to the reconstruction of the country’s cultural heritage, as well as the creation of jobs and opportunities for vulnerable youth.

The announcement was made by Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides (pictured), on the occasion of his sixth visit to Iraq today.

Commissioner Stylianides said:

Each time I visit Iraq, I see the hope of its people despite the challenging circumstances. At this critical moment for the country, our new funding reaffirms the EU’s commitment to stand in solidarity with all Iraqis and will help the most vulnerable.”

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica added:

The EU is committed to the reconstruction of Iraq. With today’s new support, we will help to restore the rich cultural heritage of Mosul and Basrah, and at the same time create much needed jobs and opportunities.”

Whilst in Iraq, Commissioner Stylianides, alongside Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, visited Mosul, where schools and hospitals are being supported by EU funding to help the most vulnerable get access to essential services. In Erbil, the Commissioner visited camps hosting thousands displaced by conflict. In Baghdad, the Commissioner held meetings with the Iraqi authorities.

Humanitarian assistance: The new EU humanitarian assistance worth €30 million will include protection, emergency healthcare, basic shelter, food, safe water, sanitation and hygiene to those in the greatest need throughout the country. These include Iraqis who remain displaced and Syrian refugees in Iraq. It will provide mental health support, increasing services for survivors of sexual violence, and ensuring physical therapy and rehabilitation to war-wounded. Furthermore, the EU will support the resumption of basic public services including health, education, and water supply in war-affected areas, such as Mosul, western Anbar and Hawija.

Development cooperation: The €20 million development cooperation will provide tailored technical and vocation training opportunities for youth in the construction sector, to help to recover the historic urban landscape of Mosul and Basrah. In addition, it will provide small grants to Small and Medium Enterprises and associations, with a focus on the revival of socio-economic and cultural activities. This funding, to be signed on 21 February, is part of the flagship initiative ‘Revive the Spirit of Mosul’ run by UNESCO, and designed to foster social cohesion and promote peace. With the full support of the Government of Iraq, the initiative will focus the restoration and rehabilitation of cultural heritage, as well as the revival of educational and cultural institutions. This measure is part of the EU’s pledge at the Iraq Reconstruction Conference held in Kuwait in February 2018.

Today’s funding announcement brings total EU humanitarian assistance to Iraq to €420 million and development cooperation to €309 million since the beginning of the crisis in 2015.

(Source: EU)

Staff at BP and the Rumaila Operating Organization (ROO) have raised $17,200 for the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF).

According to Julian O’Connell, Rumaila Deputy General Manager and BP Iraq General Manager, this is by far the largest amount they have ever raised with their annual charity fun run.

ICF Director Cindy Fogelman expressed the charity’s huge gratitude to all who took part.

More here.

A new UK aid package is to help the Government of Iraq to reinvigorate its economy and rebuild hospitals, schools and other vital infrastructure, allowing Iraqis displaced by conflict to return home and restart their lives, UK Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt announced during a four-day visit to Iraq.

The UK is the first donor to the newly formed Iraq Reform and Reconstruction Fund (IRRF), following close cooperation between the Department for International Development (DFID), the Government of Iraq, the World Bank, Germany and other international partners to develop the fund.

The fund will:

  • encourage innovative approaches and provide technical assistance to the Government of Iraq as it reconstructs areas affected by conflict, including the rebuilding of houses, schools, hospitals, factories and roads.
  • provide opportunities to utilise UK and international expertise to help the Government of Iraq to carry out vital reforms that will make the country more business friendly.
  • help unlock Iraq’s economic potential, generate jobs, boost potential for enhanced future trade with the UK and other international partners and lay the ground-work for long-term peace and stability following the conflict with Daesh.

In addition to tackling Iraq’s long-term recovery and reconstruction, Mr. Burt also announced further support to help meet the immediate humanitarian needs of the 1.8 million people still displaced from their homes within Iraq, and a boost for stabilisation efforts to ensure vital services such as healthcare and electricity are reinstated quickly in places such as Mosul.

During the visit in which Iraq and the UK agreed to a joint communique to further strengthen bilateral relations, Mr Burt held wide ranging discussions on UK-Iraqi cooperation, trade, development and regional security issues with the Iraqi President Barham Salih, the Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mehdi, Foreign Minister, Deputy Foreign Minister and the Trade and Planning ministers.

He also met Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani, and the Prime-Minister designate, Masrour Barzani. Whilst in the Kurdistan Region, the minister also met Minister for the Interior, and for Peshmerga Affairs Karim Sinjari, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani.

In support of the Foreign Secretary’s commitment to tackle the persecution of Christians across the globe, the minister also engaged with the Archbishop of Erbil, Bashar Warda and grassroots faith organisations to gain their perspectives on freedom of religion and beliefs in the region.

Speaking from Baghdad the Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said:

The UK is a strong partner and friend of Iraq. We share a range of mutual and growing priorities which include security, development, foreign policy and trade.

“There is much to be celebrated about Iraq’s progress since the territorial defeat of Daesh in 2017. But there is more to be done to help Iraq develop the strong, stable future, decided on by all Iraqis, that its people deserve. The UK remains committed to supporting Iraq to develop along non-sectarian lines, and we are particularly concerned about the rights and freedoms afforded to Christians and other minority faith groups.

“I am proud that we will be the first donor to the Iraq Reform and Reconstruction Fund. UK aid will provide vital support to the people of Iraq as they rebuild their lives, their businesses and their economic independence.

UK aid announced today for the humanitarian response will support vulnerable people displaced by conflict, providing clean water, medicine and shelter. Since 2014, UK aid in Iraq has provided 4.1 million people with life-saving healthcare, 2 million people with safe water and sanitation, 836,500 people with shelter and more than 408,000 people with food.

£16 million will be allocated to the Iraq Reform and Reconstruction Fund (IRRF), run by the World Bank, from DFID’s budget. The IRRF will support Government of Iraq-led reconstruction efforts following the destruction caused by the conflict with Daesh, and support the implementation of longer term economic reform.

£6.9 million will be allocated to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilisation (FFS) in Iraq from the UK Government’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF). It will directly support the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure in areas of Iraq liberated from Daesh. This will include hospitals, school, power plants and roads destroyed in the fighting.

£10 million will be allocated to UN OCHA’s Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund from DFID’s budget. It will support the ongoing humanitarian response, providing for the immediate needs of vulnerable people in Iraq displaced by conflict. It will help deliver clean water, medicine, shelter and a wide range of additional services to people living within temporary camps. Since 2014, UK aid in Iraq has provided 4.1 million people with life-saving healthcare, 2 million people with safe water and sanitation, 836,500 people with shelter and more than 408,000 people with food.

(Source: UK Govt)

World Health Organization (WHO) Iraq delivers four trucks loaded with kits and medical supplies to Diyala

Responding to the need of the Directorate of Health in Diyala, WHO with the support of the generous donors, has arranged for a large consignment of medical kits and medical supplies to support the Directorate.

A shipment of four 40-feet trucks of kits and medical supplies was transported on 14 January 2019 to support returnees’ districts in Diyala governorate, 84 kilometers east of Baghdad.

As Diyala is one of the crisis affected governorate and in line with the objectives of Humanitarian Response Plan, WHO, in coordination with Diyala health directorate, developed an action plan to support the returnees and the IDPs families in the governorate during 2019.

“This shipment is the first of its kind that was delivered to Diyala and an important step of WHO’s intervention in the governorate as part of 2019 plan,” Said Dr. Adham Ismail, Acting Representative of WHO Iraq. Dr. Ali Hussain al-Temimi, Director General of Diyala DoH pointed out that the shipment would save the lives of population in the governorate and can be used by mobile clinics offering health care and services to IDPs.

“It came in difficult time as the country suffers of lack of resources to provide the necessary and lifesaving medications, medical equipment and supplies”, Said Dr. al-Temimi.

“We are happy and highly appreciate WHO’s support to our directorate. His Excellency the Governor of Diyala instructed to send a letter of appreciation to WHO and its staff in Iraq for the valuable assistance they rendered. He also urged WHO to continue its work according to the agreed upon plan to provide medicine, construct a health center in far rural area, train staff on statistical programs, create a software to connect health centers with DoH and MoH, support exceptional campaigns for immunization, provide insecticides and pesticides for vector control in liberated areas and provide assistance to the 3 IDPs camps in Diyala”, added Dr. al-Temimi.

“The support by WHO and partner agencies came as a lifeline for the governorate.” said Mr. Wisam Mohammed Ahmed, Head of Pharmacy Department at the Directorate of Health in Diyala. “It will help the medical staff in hospitals and medical centers to work more efficiently and offer better care to patients.” Mr. Ahmed added.

The consignment included supplementary module pharmaceutical kits, supplementary module equipment, supplementary module renewable kits, traumatological profile/emergency kits, medical supplies support kits, basic units’ w/o malaria, ringer lactate and sodium chloride.

The support to the Directorate of Health in Diyala was made possible through generous contributions from donors and health partners especially The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance – USAID-OFDA and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations – ECHO.

(Source: WHO)

In December 2017, Iraqi authorities announced that they had completely freed areas previously controlled by the Daesh terrorist organization.

Today, Iraq has entered a crucial phase of national reconciliation, stabilization and reconstruction of freed regions. These actions are essential for a lasting victory against terrorism and the return of displaced persons.

Humanitarian and stabilization assistance

France and its partners have continued their efforts, and are standing alongside the Iraqi people and Government in order to assist the most vulnerable populations, revitalize the economy and rebuild the country. For example, multi-sectoral emergency assistance (food aid, basic healthcare and essential goods) was provided to almost 200,000 displaced persons during the battle of Mosul.

Since 2017, France has dedicated €60 million to humanitarian and stabilization assistance activities in Iraq, including €20 million to the stabilization of the city of Mosul.

During a visit to Iraq on 26 August 2017, the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the Minister for the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, also confirmed that a budgetary loan of €430 million would be granted to the Iraqi Government.

In addition, France runs humanitarian and stabilization assistance activities through United Nations agencies such as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP). It has contributed €7 million to tools developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq.

Projects in various fields

Security

Restoring security is essential to ensure that displaced people can return voluntarily to regions freed from Daesh control.

As part of the Global Coalition Against Daesh, France is providing military support to local forces working to secure recently freed Iraqi regions, in order to prevent the resurgence of the Daesh terrorist movement.

France is also helping to train Iraq’s internal security forces in the fields of democratic crowd management, mine clearance (including chemical and underwater mines), and post-attack scene management.

Health

In the projects supported by France, special emphasis is placed on the health of Iraqi people. In addition to contributing emergency humanitarian assistance, France has implemented programmes to support health infrastructure (hospitals, health centres in camps and mobile clinics) and provide psychological treatment to populations, who are often traumatized.

France is also strongly committed to rehabilitating the University of Mosul’s College of Medicine, which trains medical staff throughout the Nineveh Plains and beyond. The College was badly damaged during fighting. Today, as a result of France’s commitment and UNDP support, it has been completely rebuilt. It has welcomed a number of students since the start of the 2018 academic year.

Education and support for displaced populations

Education is a priority of France’s assistance. In addition to supporting the University of Mosul, France has committed to programmes rehabilitating schools in the most hard-to-access areas.

It has financed informal educational support projects for children who had no access to education during the Daesh occupation, with a view to reintegrating them into Iraq’s public school system.

Child protection training and campaigns raising awareness of children’s rights have also been implemented by NGOs.

National cohesion

A united Iraq, where all components of society are respected, is essential to ensure that the stabilization process is inclusive and has lasting results. The country must not only focus on physical reconstruction, but also on reconciliation.

France therefore pays special attention to the victims of ethnic and religious violence. A special fund finances projects led by NGOs aiming to respond specifically to the needs of these communities and to encourage their return to their home villages, towns and cities.

At the Paris Peace Forum in November 2018, the French President lent his support to Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2018, who has launched a fund to rebuild Iraq’s Sinjar region, which suffered heavily under Daesh. France will contribute €2 million to this fund, which will be used to build infrastructure such as schools and hospitals, create revenue-generating structures, foster the return of displaced Yazidi populations to their lands, among other activities.

Cultural heritage

The ties between France and Iraq when it comes to preserving cultural heritage and archaeology are long-standing.

Three priorities have been identified in recent years in coordination with local authorities: combating trafficking, protecting works and safeguarding the memory of sites. Several training activities for Iraqi heritage preservation professionals have been planned in partnership with the Institut National du Patrimoine (INP) and the Department of Near Eastern Antiquities at the Louvre Museum to improve techniques to combat the trafficking of cultural goods and artefacts.

The Institut Français du Proche-Orient (IFPO) in Iraq, which has a branch in Erbil, has established cooperation with academic institutions in the areas of archaeology and cultural heritage.

In 2018, the Institut Français de Recherche à l’Étranger (IFRE) conducted several digitization and preservation projects on Iraqi sites with funds from the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH).

Justice and fighting impunity

France is committed to fighting impunity for crimes committed in Iraq and has taken every opportunity to make progress on this issue, particularly in the Security Council and other UN bodies. It is funding projects to document the crimes committed to provide information for investigations. Training activities to improve the skills of Iraqi law enforcement authorities are also being conducted to make criminal prosecutions more effective.

Interview : France’s action in Iraq

Eric Chevallier, Director of the Ministry’s Crisis and Support Centre, explains France’s action to support the country’s stabilisation and reconstruction, and the humanitarian aid that we are providing.

(Source: French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs)

Continued Winter Assistance Needed for Displaced and Vulnerable Iraqis: IOM

As winter temperatures set in, accompanied by winds and rain, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Iraq has completed the three-month distribution of 25,000 winter non-food item kits. Consisting of heaters, blankets and jerry cans, the kits meet the most urgent needs of 150,000 vulnerable individuals across the country.

IOM’s winterization assistance reached 13,000 displaced households in camps, thousands of displaced families in informal settlements, and thousands of others who have returned to their home communities.

“Although displaced households are continuing to return to their home communities, those remaining in camps or informal settlements are often the most vulnerable and have little to protect themselves against the cold winter conditions,” said Gerard Waite, IOM Iraq Chief of Mission.

In partnership with local governmental authorities, IOM prioritized distributions in hard-to-reach or insecure areas where other humanitarian partners are not present, such as in communities bordering Syria and in Qayrawan and Hatra, in Ninewa governorate.

Of the 1.8 million persons who remain displaced as a result of the conflict with ISIL, over 500,000 are in camps and 140,000 live in critical shelter arrangements (informal settlements, schools or religious or abandoned buildings). More than four million people previously displaced have returned to their homes since mid-2015, but many continue to live in precarious conditions.

As people return home, many have found their personal belongings stolen and their houses damaged. With massive destruction in areas of return and limited economic opportunities, returnee households are exposed to the harsh effects of winter and are unable to afford items to cope with the cold.

The provision of humanitarian assistance in areas of return is therefore critical to support the reintegration of returning displaced families and other vulnerable households in conflict-affected communities.

“After being displaced for a year and a half in the city of Kirkuk, we returned to our village, which was destroyed by ISIL. Everything was damaged, including our house and shop, which was our only source of income. We had to start our life from scratch, while our deteriorating financial condition and cold weather forced us to use firewood as a heating source during the chilly winter nights. We are very happy to receive these items, now we will have a heater to stay warm,” said Nora, a mother of four children, at a distribution in Al Abassi district, Kirkuk governorate.

“Despite the success of this winter response operation, we are extremely concerned for the many Iraqis who remain in displacement who will have to endure another harsh winter in camps and in sub-standard shelters,” said Alberto Preato, Head of IOM Iraq’s Preparedness and Response Unit.

“This year we are piloting innovative approaches to housing reconstruction and cash-based humanitarian assistance to enable displaced families return to their home communities,” he continued.

IOM’s winter non-food item kits are funded by the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

As more displaced families attempt to return home, IOM remains committed to supporting the Government of Iraq to seek durable solutions for vulnerable displaced persons and address needs of conflict-affected communities throughout the country.

Click here to watch a video of an IOM staff member speaking about winter support for displaced Iraqis and returnees.

(Source: UN)

The World Health Organization (WHO) extends its gratitude to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM) for the generous contribution of US$ 2.5 million to increase the health security and resilience of Syrian refugees living in Iraq.

In 2018, Iraq continued to host Syrian refugees. It is estimated that about 250,000 Syrian refugees are currently residing in the three governorates of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) namely Erbil, Dahuk, and Sulaymaniyah, the majority of which (64%) lives with the hosting communities.

“There is an urgent need to support the local health authorities in KRI to ensure that Syrian refugees here have access to proper health services,” said Dr. Adham R. Ismail, Acting WHO Representative in Iraq. “Providing comprehensive primary, secondary, referral, and outbreak prevention and response services in the three refugee governorates is a WHO priority for the coming phase; it will indirectly improve the resilience of the refugees and host communities against potential public health emergencies,” he added.

Syrian refugees in Iraq have been given free access to primary health care services whether through camp-based primary health care centers ((PHCC) for refugees living in camps or public health facilities specified for those living with the host communities.

These services have been provided by the directorates of health of Erbil, Dohuk, and Suleimaniya in collaboration with WHO and health partners. However, the mass internal displacement of over 3.3 million Iraqis in 2014 had stretched the capacity of the national health authorities and humanitarian partners to continue meeting the needs of refugees and respond to the inflated demand for health care intervention.

As of 2018, WHO has been active in filling the gaps in essential medicines and medical supplies and equipment, improving referral services, and supporting surveillance and water quality monitoring activities in the refugee camp and non-camp settings. According to the 2017 national health reports, the said DOHs have provided a total of 264,611 consultations to Syrian refugees residing in KRG of Iraq.

The contribution of US$ 2.5 million from the U.S. BPRM will support the provision of comprehensive primary health care and referral services for around 300,000 Syrian refugees and host communities in KRI. It will also support the healthcare services for the disabled and mentally ill patients in the three mentioned governorates through a comprehensive training program for the national professionals working in the mental health area.

The contribution will also cover the procurement and distribution of essential medicines, and medical supplies and equipment to selected health facilities serving the refugees in target governorates.

(Source: UN)

UNFPA and Spain Join Efforts to Enhance Access to Psychosocial and Mental Health Services in Iraq

The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) joined efforts with UNFPA to improve access to psychosocial, mental health, and GBV services to women and girls in Iraq through a contribution of €400,000 to the programme.

The conflict in Iraq has had major psychological and emotional consequences on the well-being of women and girls due to the continuous displacement, the traumatic events and the violence experienced.

Dr Oluremi Sogunro (pictured), UNFPA Representative to Iraq, expressed his gratitude for Spain’s support:

The psychological and emotional wounds of war in Iraq have left thousands of women and girls in need of mental health assistance and psychosocial support. The Spanish contribution will enable UNFPA to improve the capacity and access to these much-needed services, including legal support and referrals, to more than 1,800 women and girls in the country.

“This contribution will strengthen UNFPA’s mental health interventions through the improvement of the access to psychologists and counsellors who provide vital care and support for women suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), depression, and severe anxiety.”

Furthermore, the assistance from Spain will ensure the support of the UNFPA-funded survivor centres, Girls and Women Treatment and Support Centres; and Women Community Centres, in particular in improving legal support in hard-to-reach areas of Iraq.

(Source: UN)