Pathway to peace: New recommendations to enhance local policing programmes in Iraq

Designing adaptable programmes, promoting the role of women in policing, and streamlining international interventions and are some of the key recommendations made by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in a recent conflict assessment on local policing in Iraq.

Conflict Assessment in Support of Efforts to Improve Local Policing in Iraq outlines key recommendations to mitigate the drivers of conflict and promote forces for peace, focusing on two key governorates in Iraq, Anbar and Ninewa.

It highlights different approaches to address drivers of conflict and instability, and makes recommendations to shape robust, sustainable local policing programmes in Iraq.

“Local police play an integral role in establishing and forging peace in Iraq, especially in the years since the ISIL conflict,” says Resident Representative of UNDP in Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

“We hope this assessment is a useful tool for international partners and local decision makers to shape robust and sustainable local policing programmes that reflect community concerns, and promote a more peaceful and just Iraq. In doing so, it is important to increase and promote the role of women in policing, and improve women and girls’ access to local police services,” she adds.

The conflict assessment was developed under UNDP Iraq’s Security Sector Reform/Rule of Law programme with generous funding from the Government of The Netherlands.

The assessment findings are available online in English and Arabic.

(Source: UNDP)

By Safa Fadhil, Head of Exploration and Sundus Abass, Gender Advisor at UNDP Iraq. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council (UNSCR) Resolution 1325, which helps to ensure women are on the frontlines of achieving stability and peace in Iraq.

With this in mind, UNDP Iraq’s  Accelerator Lab and Gender Division partnered with French Embassy in Iraq, Ambassade de France en Irak, The Station for entrepreneurship, Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie , Zain Iraq Telecommunications Company, and Ashur Private Bank on a competition to support Iraqi women entrepreneurs.

The Raa’idat Competition encourages women to develop and grow their own enterprises. Despite the financial stress and anxiety resulting from the outbreak of Coronavirus in Iraq, the initiative captured the enthusiasm of Iraqi women keen to expand their business know-how.

To start, leaders from 20 entrepreneurial projects participated in training courses related to business planning and management, and other relevant topics prescribed by telecommunications company Zain Iraq. Seventeen projects progressed to the next stage of the competition, with leaders participating in financial budgeting training undertaken by UNDP Iraq’s Accelerator Lab.

The competition is ongoing – from these seventeen, five finalists will be selected, and then one overall winner, who will receive $ 10,000 in the form of a six-month incubation period, consultant support, recruitment costs, and purchasing specific equipment for its development. Cash prizes will also be awarded.

UNDP Iraq’s training offered participants a holistic approach to women’s economic empowerment, defining it as ‘a process whereby women’s and girls’ lives are transformed from a situation where they have limited power and access to economic assets, to a situation where they experience economic advancement’. In addition, it underlined the factors that enable and constrain women’s economic empowerment, while using the Design Thinking and Behavioral Insight methodologies to guide the work.

UNDP Iraq provided expertise to highlight the importance of women’s economic empowerment and financial budgeting techniques to enable women entrepreneurs to effectively compete in the market. The training was conducted virtually and used a combination of interactive methods to deliver the target. The Accelerator Lab in Iraq used a human-centered approach to structure the training material, commencing with a needs-assessment session before planning the three lectures that followed.

The competition was integral to amplifying women’s voices. “I want to prove myself; I do exist, and I have the right to participate in my country’s economic empowerment,” says participant Nadia. For UNDP, this sentiment sits at the heart of the organization’s work.

it also enhanced the Accelerator Lab’s mandate in fostering collaborations with local and international partners to solve the issues of tunnel-vision employment experienced in Iraq, – i.e, pressures placed on young people to attain certain jobs. The competition also led to the discovery of 17 new, local, under-the-radar solutions and opened the door to experimenting with them.

To ensure the sustainability of the project, The Accelerator Lab in Iraq will be part of the training and competition evaluation that will take place after COVID-19. This will ensure the empowerment of women is prioritized alongside sensing and exploring innovative local solutions.

(Source: UNDP)

The Government of Australia has provided AUD 866,000 (USD 591,000) to support the work of UNFPA in Iraq. The funding will provide assistance to 38,000 women and girls, in Duhok and Nineveh Governorates over the next year.

The new contribution will primarily support Syrian refugees who arrived in Iraq in 2019 as a result of the military operations in north-eastern Syria. Women and girls, survivors of gender-based violence; and men, as allies of the prevention and response to gender-based issues, will benefit from prevention and response services, such as psychosocial support and case management.

The funding will also allow UNFPA to procure and pre-position 8,000 dignity kits for women and girls of reproductive age, in particular, refugee and internally displaced populations.

“Australia is pleased to continue to work with UNFPA to ensure the reproductive health needs of women and girls affected by conflict are being met, and work towards a world where women and girls can live free from violence”, said Dr Joanne Loundes (pictured), the Ambassador of Australia to Iraq.

Acknowledging the contribution, Dr Oluremi Sogunro, UNFPA Representative to Iraq, said: “Australia has been a consistent and reliable partner for UNFPA’s work in Iraq. Australia has given UNFPA women and girls in Iraq, through UNFPA, to a total of AUD 16.8 million since October 2014. We couldn’t be more grateful for this trust in our work. With this new commitment, Iraq is a step closer to ensuring no woman or girl is left behind in Iraq”.

(Source: UN)

On Monday, 1st June the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held a well attended Women’s Group discussion entitled ‘Women in Business: Current Challenges and Future Perspectives‘ with Ms Samar Thamer Al Mafraji, Managing Director, AMS Iraq chairing the session.

Speakers included:

  • Ms Caroline McGarr, Managing Director, Thinkbank;
  • Mrs Faten Issa Alsarraf, Managing Director, Final Fix Interiors LLC;
  • Mrs Samar Rassam-Whitticombe, Director, Somer Industrial Projects; and,
  • Ms Paulina Argudin, Senior Analyst, G4S Risk Consulting.

The discussion covered a wide range topics from personnel training in Iraq, gender equality issues to personal experiences while working in large corporations.

Finally a very insightful survey on Iraqi consumer habits and how these differ between men and women was presented at the meeting.

For more information please contact agne.abramauskaite@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

UN in Iraq raises the alarm: Time to endorse the anti-domestic violence law

The UN in Iraq urges the Iraqi Parliament to speed up the endorsement of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law amid alarming reports of a rise in gender-based and domestic violence cases perpetrated across the country, especially with increased household tensions as a result of the confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) offices in Iraq express their concern at the rising number in domestic violence cases during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the last week, multiple reports emerged of the rape of a woman with special needs, spousal abuse, immolation and self-immolation as well as self-inflicted injuries due to spousal abuse, sexual harassment of minors, and suicide due to domestic abuse among other crimes. Such crimes raise the alarm for the urgency to endorse the Anti-Domestic Violence Law in Iraq.

The UN in Iraq calls upon authorities to ensure that the judicial systems continue to prosecute abusers, invest more in hotline and online services, support the role of civil society organisations, keep shelter doors open for women fleeing abuse and punish perpetrators of any gender-based violence.

As United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres said:

“Many women under lockdown for COVID-19 face violence where they should be safest: in their own homes. Today I appeal for peace in homes around the world. I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic.”

We reiterate the Secretary General’s call and ask the authorities in Iraq to prioritise the protection of women and children as part of their COVID-19 response.

The adoption of a law on Domestic Violence will help to ensure that perpetrators of gender-based violence in Iraq, such as those who carried out the heinous incidents seen in recent past, are held accountable.

Violence against women and girls is a crime and should not go unpunished. The women and girls of Iraq deserve better.

UNFPA Representative in Iraq, Dr Oluremi Sogunro

OHCHR Representative in Iraq, Danielle Bell

UNICEF Representative in Iraq, Hamida Ramadhani Lasseko

UN Women Representative in Iraq, Dina Zorba

(Source: UNFPA)

UN in Iraq raises the alarm: Time to endorse the anti-domestic violence law

The UN in Iraq urges the Iraqi Parliament to speed up the endorsement of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law amid alarming reports of a rise in gender-based and domestic violence cases perpetrated across the country, especially with increased household tensions as a result of the confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) offices in Iraq express their concern at the rising number in domestic violence cases during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the last week, multiple reports emerged of the rape of a woman with special needs, spousal abuse, immolation and self-immolation as well as self-inflicted injuries due to spousal abuse, sexual harassment of minors, and suicide due to domestic abuse among other crimes. Such crimes raise the alarm for the urgency to endorse the Anti-Domestic Violence Law in Iraq.

The UN in Iraq calls upon authorities to ensure that the judicial systems continue to prosecute abusers, invest more in hotline and online services, support the role of civil society organisations, keep shelter doors open for women fleeing abuse and punish perpetrators of any gender-based violence.

As United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres said:

“Many women under lockdown for COVID-19 face violence where they should be safest: in their own homes. Today I appeal for peace in homes around the world. I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic.”

We reiterate the Secretary General’s call and ask the authorities in Iraq to prioritise the protection of women and children as part of their COVID-19 response.

The adoption of a law on Domestic Violence will help to ensure that perpetrators of gender-based violence in Iraq, such as those who carried out the heinous incidents seen in recent past, are held accountable.

Violence against women and girls is a crime and should not go unpunished. The women and girls of Iraq deserve better.

UNFPA Representative in Iraq, Dr Oluremi Sogunro

OHCHR Representative in Iraq, Danielle Bell

UNICEF Representative in Iraq, Hamida Ramadhani Lasseko

UN Women Representative in Iraq, Dina Zorba

(Source: UNFPA)

By Zahra Ali for Jadaliyya. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Since October 2019, Iraq is experiencing a turning point in its history with popular mobilizations demanding radical change.

The Iraqi revolution is a societal uprising involving a wide spectrum of society including the dispossessed, the marginalized, the ones deprived of resources and power.

Women’s massive participation from young female students to older women has turned this uprising to a people’s revolution.

While remarkable, this participation is not surprising, it only makes visible deep societal realities and transformations that have found their space of expression in the Iraqi streets and squares of protest.

Click here to read the full story.

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

It can be hard for young Iraqi graduates to get a job – in Iraq’s oil-dependent, rentier economy, the government still provides most of the employment and as the population grows, there simply are not enough jobs to go around. It’s one of the main reasons for current anti-government protests.

One young Baghdad woman, Duha Mustafa Fadel, decided to forge her own path after graduation. She now has her own business, making natural soap and skin care products locally. She sells soap made with fennel, lemon, coffee, active coal, strawberry, honey and Moroccan clay, among other varieties, via Facebook and at drugstores and beauty clinics around the country.

She told NIQASH how she got started, where she hopes to go and why there is hope for young Iraqis in the private sector.

NIQASH: How did all this begin for you?

Duha Mustafa Fadel: After I graduated, coming first in my class, I didn’t want to wait around for the government  to offer me a job, as so many other people do. I worked for another company for a while and managed to save some money. Then I travelled to India with my husband – he was studying there – where I was introduced to all kinds of natural oils and where I joined a training on the manufacture of natural products.

Upon my return to Iraq, I got started. I opened a small workshop in my own home and created two Facebook pages to market my products. One of the first people to contact me was a woman from Diwaniyah. She said she was interested in the products but couldn’t afford to pay to get them from Baghdad to Diwaniyah and asked if there was any chance I would open outlets in other parts of Iraq. So that’s what I did.

NIQASH: What was the budget for your project?

Fadel: Around US$3,400. That was what I could afford and I used the money to buy raw materials and workshop supplies.

NIQASH: When you first started work, what were some of your biggest challenges?

Fadel: Basically trying to build trust that it was a locally made product and that it was good. Shop owners that I tried to stock would ask me whether it was really made in Iraq, or if it was imported. When I told them it was made in Iraq, they were often reluctant. However when they did try it, they liked it a lot and would always order more.

NIQASH: Did you do any research on the market or whether Iraqis even wanted something like this before you began?

Fadel: Yes, I tried to do a feasibility study and when it comes to the tastes of customers, I started with what I liked first, and what people close to me liked. Then eventually, as the business grew, I began to get more insights into what customers wanted  and I built my knowledge of the market that way.

NIQASH: What sort of plans do you have for the future growth of your business?

Fadel: I’d really like to open a proper factory in Iraqi Kurdistan to make soap and skin care products and then market them in Arab countries, and also internationally. I lived in Iraqi Kurdistan for two years and I have good contacts there. The conditions for opening a factory are easier up north too.

NIQASH: A lot of other Iraqis would be looking at your success with admiration and they might possibly also want to ask you for a job. Where do you find your employees?

Fadel: At first, a friend was helping me and as the business grew, I began to hire young female graduates. As our activities continue and grow, the number of staff should also increase. I’ve also been very lucky in that my husband and parents support my work unconditionally.

NIQASH: What advice would you give to other Iraqi women who might be thinking about starting their own businesses? 

Fadel: I would advise them not to hesitate. I would advise them to work hard and to unleash their talents and creativity. The beginning is always hard but over time, things get easier and your business will grow, especially if you have done good advance planning and research. Women who become financially independent can be a source of pride for their families and, of course, for themselves too.

The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) has contributed CAD 20 million ($15 million) in support of UNFPA’s humanitarian response focusing on life-saving assistance aimed at alleviating the suffering of women and girls across Iraq.

The three-year contribution will support UNFPA works in providing emergency obstetric care, and sexual and reproductive health services, in ensuring protection from and responding to gender-based violence and in providing health services, supplies and medication, dignity and reproductive health kits to women and girls affected by the crisis in Iraq.

Dr Oluremi Sogunro, UNFPA Representative to Iraq, thanked DFAT for their trust, saying:

“We are grateful for Canada’s generosity. The needs of women and adolescent girls, especially in displacement camps, remain acute. With the new funding from Canada, UNFPA will expand its interventions aiming at meeting the reproductive health needs of women and girls as well as preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development has been a steady partner to UNFPA humanitarian intervention since 2015. With the current contribution, the total amount of CAD 54.9 million dedicated to UNFPA’s humanitarian initiatives in the field.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

A recently established tote bag factory has reportedly created jobs for 25 women in the Kurdistan Region’s Halabja.

According to Rudaw, the initiative aims to promote alternatives to plastic, and is part of the “Green City Halabja” campaign, run by the NWE NGO and partially funded by the German Consulate and WADI organization.

Click here to read the full story.

(Source: Rudaw)