By Padraig O’Hannelly.

Hussein Al-Alak (pictured below) will run the Manchester 10k on Sunday on behalf of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation.

He commented:

It’s the only charity in the United Kingdom that supports health, education and, more importantly, mental health programmes, in Iraq …

“You’ve got a lot of amazing causes [in the race] and it’s nice to be able to say: ‘This is what we’re doing at AMAR’.

You can help AMAR in its essential work in Iraq by donating here.

Bright and early last Saturday morning, runners in the Washington, DC area took off when the starting gun fired.

It was the sixth annual IN THEIR SHOES 5K for Iraq’s most vulnerable children.  This year, for the first time, the US-based 5K was joined by a “sister” 5K in Basra, Iraq, hosted by BP.

Veterans, Iraqi-Americans, diplomats, businesses, children, and families all joined to raise awareness and support for Iraq’s orphans, street kids, and displaced children.  The result?  A record $59,000 was raised to deliver tutoring, legal protection, nutrition, health care, and childhood fun to some of the most vulnerable and at risk kids in Iraq.

Joined by Iraq’s Ambassador to the United States Fareed Yasseen, the three Youth Ambassadors for the 5K – Humoody, Teeba, and Ala’a – served as the faces and voices of children back in Iraq.

Team Teeba won for the largest 5K team with 33 registered, and the Iraqi-American Young Professionals (IAYP) came in second with 23.  Tim Reilly and Veronica Scott took home trophies for first place in the men and women’s division.

Looking for your race time?  Check here.  Pictures of the event?  Check out recent posts and an album on our ICF Facebook page.

The race was followed by an after party with music by Salaam Band, dancing,  and Iraqi food.  Our friends at Old Town’s Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato provided free gelato for everyone, and there was face painting and balloon animals for the kids.  At a table hosted by Kids Giving Hope to Kids, special drawings were made for Hope Bus kids in Baghdad

To each of you who ran or walked, donated or volunteered, the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) expresses its deepest appreciation.  Thanks for being a part of the team to deliver love and hope to Iraq’s children!

(Source: ICF)

(Photo credits: George Banker and BP)

Bright and early last Saturday morning, runners in the Washington, DC area took off when the starting gun fired.

It was the sixth annual IN THEIR SHOES 5K for Iraq’s most vulnerable children.  This year, for the first time, the US-based 5K was joined by a “sister” 5K in Basra, Iraq, hosted by BP.

Veterans, Iraqi-Americans, diplomats, businesses, children, and families all joined to raise awareness and support for Iraq’s orphans, street kids, and displaced children.  The result?  A record $59,000 was raised to deliver tutoring, legal protection, nutrition, health care, and childhood fun to some of the most vulnerable and at risk kids in Iraq.

Joined by Iraq’s Ambassador to the United States Fareed Yasseen, the three Youth Ambassadors for the 5K – Humoody, Teeba, and Ala’a – served as the faces and voices of children back in Iraq.

Team Teeba won for the largest 5K team with 33 registered, and the Iraqi-American Young Professionals (IAYP) came in second with 23.  Tim Reilly and Veronica Scott took home trophies for first place in the men and women’s division.

Looking for your race time?  Check here.  Pictures of the event?  Check out recent posts and an album on our ICF Facebook page.

The race was followed by an after party with music by Salaam Band, dancing,  and Iraqi food.  Our friends at Old Town’s Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato provided free gelato for everyone, and there was face painting and balloon animals for the kids.  At a table hosted by Kids Giving Hope to Kids, special drawings were made for Hope Bus kids in Baghdad

To each of you who ran or walked, donated or volunteered, the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) expresses its deepest appreciation.  Thanks for being a part of the team to deliver love and hope to Iraq’s children!

(Source: ICF)

(Photo credits: George Banker and BP)

From the AMAR International Charitable Foundation.

Baroness Nicholson visits Najaf to mark the continuing success of AMAR’s busy public health clinic:

Please click here to help AMAR in their valuable work in Iraq.

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) has appealed for runners and doners for its annual run in Alexandria, Virginia.

“More than 4 million children have been impacted by extreme violence in several areas including in Ninewa and al-Anbar.  Last year alone, 270 children were killed.  Many were robbed of their childhood, forced to fight on the frontlines.   Some will bear the physical and psychological scars for life due to exposure to unprecedented brutality.  Over 1 million children were forced to leave their homes.”

—       January 19, 2018, Statement by UNICEF Regional Director Geert Cappelaere, after visiting Iraq

During ISIS’ occupation, UNICEF called Iraq “one of the most dangerous places in the world for children.”  Now, after Iraq has driven ISIS from its strongholds, the emotional, psychological, and physical wreckage is staggering.  For everyone who loves Iraqi children, this an urgent call to action.   We call on all to Run. Give. Volunteer. Today.

RUN.  Run or walk – with us at the IN THEIR SHOES 5K  on May 5th.  Tell the world these kids are not forgotten.  We lift them up with our hearts and voices.

GIVE.  GIVE because we can’t hire a teacher or lawyer or social worker, or buy food, school supplies, and clothing without money.

VOLUNTEER.  VOLUNTEER because every volunteer on our team saves ICF money that can go directly to the Iraqi kids we all love.  We salute our 2017 volunteers who donated thousands of hours of loving service!

ARE YOU IN?

(Source: ICF)

By

Chris Frost, the Chairman of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation’s Finance Committee, has retired from the position after five years at the helm.

Since he began his Chairmanship, Mr Frost has skilfully overseen AMAR’s already excellent financial arrangements.

A frequent visitor to Iraq and the wider Middle East region during his many years as a Partner at the multi-national professional services business, PwC, he has brought enormous experience and vast knowledge to the role.

Mr Frost, who was also a founder Board member of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) – AMAR’s sister organisation, recognised the vital importance of AMAR’s work to the Iraqi people.

However, he will not be leaving the AMAR family. Now that he has fully-retired from PwC, Mr Frost has been asked, and has accepted, a full-time position at the charity.  He will start as Treasurer on April 1st.

Mr Frost’s brief will be to oversee AMAR’s continued growth and development and strengthen the charity’s core principles; Good financial management, transparency, accountability and low administrative costs with high field output to defined, professional world class standards.

AMAR Chairman, Baroness Nicholson, said today that she was “absolutely delighted” to have persuaded Mr Frost to stay within the AMAR family:

People of Chris’s standing in the financial world are not available very often, so we had to strike while the iron was hot. He has done a fantastic job with our Financial Committee over the last five years, so we are very much looking forward to him working here on a full-time basis.”

“Chris will also travel to Basra, Baghdad and the North of Iraq regularly to meet and work with the local financial teams to develop an understanding of their working practices and help them work more effectively and efficiently.

Baroness Nicholson added:

“His particular background also allows us to implement our long-held plan to breakout with new fundraising approaches to funding institutions and city guilds.”

(Source: AMAR)

The Board of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation is to expand and strengthen its Finance Committee.

It will now be chaired by leading financial businessman and AMAR supporter, Mr Michael Boardman. The present Chairman, Mr Chris Frost is standing down, but will continue to advise AMAR in a different capacity.

Jonathan Ayres, the Chief Financial Officer of United Trust Bank, who has been a member of the committee for the last five years, will also stand down.

Mr Boardman will be joined on the committee by Mr Hadi Damirji, Mr Gavin Wishart, and Mr Siddik Bakir.

AMAR Chairman, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne; Board President, Professor Theodore Zeldin; and Board Vice-Chairman, Damon Parker, will continue in their roles on the committee.

Mr Boardman has more than 25 years’ experience of capital markets, financial management and reporting, valuation and business analysis. For 18 years he worked at Nomura Securities, the global investment banking and investment management company.

As a Managing Director responsible for Emerging Markets and a senior member of Nomura’s Global Finance team in Europe, he advised, structured and executed capital markets transactions and was personally responsible for raising over US$30 billion, in public and private markets.

For the last seven years, he has been Group CFO of Sindicatum Sustainable Resources, a high growth developer, owner and operator of renewable energy projects in the emerging markets of Asia.

Mr Boardman has been a regular speaker at industry events organised by the London Stock Exchange, Micex, Borsa Italiana and Euromoney and has published several articles about listings and public markets.

Mr Wishart, who is also a Board member of AMAR’s sister organisation, the Iraq Britain Business Council, worked at senior level in banking across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and UK during a career spanning 37 years.

Most recently he was Regional Head, Financial Institutions, Europe and Americas at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, and before that was Chief Executive Officer, leading Baghdad, for Standard Chartered Bank.

Mr Damirji founded Optitune Plc in 2001,and is an Executive Board Member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. He was the Deputy Chairman of Trinity Group Ltd from 2007-2012 and CEO of Trinity Strategic Advisors from 2007 to 2008.

Mr Siddik Bakir is a Senior Oil Market Analyst at Saudi Aramco’s Strategy and Market Analysis Department in Saudi Arabia.

Previously, Siddik was based in London where he worked as a Senior Energy Analyst for the Middle East and South Asia and an Upstream Energy Consultant at IHS (IHS Markit).

Commenting on the Financial Committee changes, Baroness Nicholson said today:

You can see from the bio data of the new members that the committee has been hugely strengthened. AMAR has always been rigorous in it financial dealings and we intend that always to be our trademark.”

“We believe we now have a fantastic committee to ensure the Board has the strongest possible financial leadership and support.

(Source: AMAR)

On 6 March, the Government of Iraq as well as the United Nations and its partners launched their 2018 plans for Iraq – the Plan for Relief, Shelter and Stabilization of Displaced People, and the Humanitarian Response Plan.

With the end of large-scale military offensives in late 2017, many families have been returning and are trying to rebuild their lives and homes. As many as two million displaced Iraqis are expected to return in 2018; hence, all efforts must be made to support them in this transition.

This year, approximately, 8.7 million people, nearly half of them children, will require some form of humanitarian assistance.

The Minister of Migration and Displacement said:

The Government’s Plan for Relief, Shelter and Stabilization of Displaced People aims at strengthening the provision of legal protection to internally displaced persons as well as supporting safe returns.

“The plan focuses on supporting returning families with one-off emergency cash assistance to provide the necessities of life, in addition to supporting some basic projects, and continuing to support displaced families with relief items and maintaining the provision of services in camps.

Dr. Mahdi Al-Alaq, the Secretary-General of the Iraqi Council of Ministers, referred to Prime Minister Dr. Haider Al-Abadi’s directive on providing an appropriate environment for the return of displaced people through the implementation of stabilization projects in the liberated areas.

This affirmed the government’s keenness to return the displaced people voluntarily while ensuring the provision of basic services to people in the areas liberated by Iraq’s Armed Forces from ISIL terrorism.

In 2018, the Humanitarian Community, comprised of UN agencies, national and international NGOs and other partners, is requesting US$569 million through the Humanitarian Response Plan to respond to the needs of 3.4 million of the most vulnerable people in Iraq.

The provision of protection support is paramount. Without such services, families may be unable to return home, or will do so in unsustainable conditions.

Mr. Ramanathan Balakrishnan, the Acting UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said:

As people return to their areas of origin with a large number of camps in Iraq becoming consolidated or decommissioned during the course of this year, many will need assistance including those who are returning as well as those who are unable to.

“Continued advocacy by the humanitarian community against involuntary or premature returns and strengthening mechanisms with the government authorities for supporting voluntary and safe returns is a key component of the 2018 humanitarian response plan.

The Government of Iraq and the humanitarian community in Iraq will continue to coordinate humanitarian assistance to better respond to the needs and challenges faced by displaced people and returnees across the country. The humanitarian operations will be conducted in close collaboration with the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Overviews of the Humanitarian Response Plan, in Arabic and English, can be found in our Reports Section.

(Source: UN)

In the lead-up to the Kuwait International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls on the international community to further invest in Iraq’s devastated health sector.

In Anbar, Ninewa, Salah Al Din, and Kirkuk, 14 hospitals and more than 170 health facilities were damaged or destroyed in the three-year conflict. Water and power systems that health facilities depend on to function also need urgent repair.

Beyond physical damage, the crisis caused unimaginable mental distress for millions of people, left tens of thousands of Iraqis with severe physical injuries, disrupted the routine vaccination of millions of children, decreased reproductive health services to girls and women of child-bearing age, halted the supply of essential medicines and medical equipment, and interrupted the medical education for hundreds of thousands of aspiring medical workers.

“More than 2.4 million Iraqis are still displaced and need direct health care, and more than 3.3 million Iraqis who have returned home have gone back to areas where the health system needs to be almost entirely rebuilt,” said Altaf Musani, WHO Representative in Iraq. “Across the country, millions of Iraqis are in the process of rebuilding their shattered lives and WHO is keen on supporting the governmental health authorities to provide them with appropriate and dignified health care services.”

WHO has worked with health partners to support the Government of Iraq in providing emergency health services and strengthening the health care system to ensure vulnerable persons have access to quality health care. In 2017, partners including various departments of health provided over 6 million medical consultations across Iraq.

This was made possible by establishing and supporting at least 29 static health clinics in displacement camps and outreach through more than 64 mobile medical clinics. Notably, life-saving emergency health services were provided to more than 24,000 people through five field hospitals close to the front-lines in Mosul, Hawija and Al-Qaim.

To protect current humanitarian gains as well as reduce vulnerabilities, further investments in health are urgently needed. Support to rebuild health systems, provision of life saving medicines and upgrading medical technologies will ensure a responsive health care system.

WHO and health partners are appealing for firm commitments to Iraq’s health care system which will enable peaceful, dignified and safe returns as well as revitalization of new accessible areas.

(Source: UNAMI)

Warning about the “alarming” state of Iraq’s healthcare system, especially in war-ravaged areas in and around Mosul, the United Nations children’s agency has stepped up its support to help the Government provide critical medical services so that children and families affected by violence and displacement can resume their lives.

With less than 10 per cent of health facilities in Iraq’s Ninewah governorate functioning at full capacity, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that as many as 750,000 children in the governorate are struggling to access basic health services although violence has subsided. Those facilities that are operational are stretched to the breaking point.

“The state of Iraq’s healthcare system is alarming,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq, who has just completed a visit to the largest hospital in Mosul.

“For pregnant women, newborn babies, and children, preventable and treatable conditions can quickly escalate into a matter of life and death,” he said, warning that medical facilities are strained beyond capacity and there are critical shortages of life-saving medicines.

Three years of intense violence have devastated health facilities in Iraq. Over 60 health facilities have repeatedly come under attack since the escalation of violence in 2014, severely disrupting access to basic health services for children and families.

In Mosul, UNICEF has rehabilitated the pediatric and nutritional wards of two hospital centres, provided refrigerators to store vaccines for up to 250,000 children, and supported vaccination campaigns to immunize all children under five years old. Most health centres in the governorate have also re-started vaccination services for children.

UNICEF says the Reconstruction Conference for Iraq hosted by Kuwait next week is a unique opportunity for the Iraqi Government and the international community to put children at the heart of reconstruction, including through increased budget allocations to services for children.

Mr. Hawkins said what he saw in the hospitals in Mosul was both “heartbreaking and inspiring,” explaining that the ingenuity and dedication of health workers who are committed to giving newborn children the best possible start in life in the most challenging of circumstances is remarkable.

“They too deserve support so that they can continue to save lives,” he said.

UNICEF is appealing for $17 million to support rebuilding health facilities for children in Iraq in 2018.

(Source: UN)