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As bereaved mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives, women bear the brunt of violence brought on by radicalization. They, therefore, have a vested interest in peace and stability for their families and communities, and they should be empowered and mobilized to be at the forefront of countering violence and extremism (VE).

Iraq Foundation (IF) is implementing a 12-month pilot project in 4 locations: the city of Mosul and Hamdaniya in Nenawa governorate; Hayy Al-Mal’ab in Ramadi, Anbar governorate; and Hayy Arba’een in the city of Tikrit, Salaheddin governorate, with the goal of equipping women to build family and community resilience against violence and extremism. The project is providing a core group (56) of returnee (and IDP) women who are survivors of violence with training to enable them to coach and guide a broader segment of women in their communities. Trained women “coaches” will reach out to and work with a broader group of women in the community to increase their understanding about VE and coach them to recognize extremist and violent behavior, build family resilience, and evolve strategies and tools to promote tolerance and moderation, and to resolve conflicts peacefully.

While addressing women directly, the project also addresses stresses and tensions faced by families and therefore has a “whole community” dimension. The goal is to enable women, particularly those who have lost loved ones, to become agents for peace and moderation, to bolster resilience to radicalization among family members, and to develop women-led, community-based solutions to the problem of violence and extremism. The project will allow women to discuss challenges, define markers of VE from their own experiences, and come up with family-based interventions and community-based activities that can be effective within the family framework. The project takes into account ethnic and religious diversity in post-conflict locations and seeks to reflect diversity, and tolerance of diversity, in its programming.

The Iraq Foundation is pleased and honored to announce that Ms. Raya Barazanji has joined our Board.

Raya Barazanji is a senior program officer at the United States Institute for Peace for the Middle East programs focusing on Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Previously she managed the Institute’s grantmaking program related to the Middle East and Africa regions. Before joining the Institute in 2010, Barazanji worked on counterterrorism programs relating to Iraq and the broader Middle East for a private sector corporation. Prior to that, and for eight years, she served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Iraq Foundation. In that capacity, she led the organization’s team in implementing democracy-building and human rights training projects, as well as supporting USAID initiatives to revitalize Iraq’s education system and to develop the capacity of civil society organizations and independent media.

Additionally, she managed a community organization and integration program for Iraqi refugees in the U.S. in the late 90s. She has over 20 years of experience in the design and management of democracy and peacebuilding programs with NGOs and is an avid advocate for women’s rights and gender equality in the Middle East and the Muslim World. Barazanji holds a master’s degree in international law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University, and a bachelor’s from the College of Arts, Al-Mustansiriyah University in Baghdad.

The Iraq Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of its new project, Women Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE). It will be a 12-month, ground-breaking project implemented in Ninawa, Anbar, and Salaheddin governorates with the goal of equipping women to build family and community resilience against violence and extremism and contribute to social peace in their communities. It will seek to build the capacities of women leaders to identify markers and indicators of radicalization and violence, teach skills to counter violent extremism within communities, and raise awareness and advocacy for women’s role as the first line of defense against extremism. The project is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

GBV Case Study Report (Arabic)_Page_01GBV Case Study Report (Arabic)

November 25 was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and many countries, including Iraq, hold a 16-day commemoration, with events, articles, and advocacy. On this occasion, the Iraq Foundation is re-publishing a report we wrote on Gender-Based Violence (GBV), based on confidential interviews and data gathered from 1,583 women in five Iraqi governorates. Many of the women interviewed were internally displaced from the sectarian conflict that raged in Iraq from 2005-2008, compounding their predicament. The report has some horrifying statistics. For example, a full 8% of women said that they had been victims of incest. Over 30% were forced into marriages they did not want. 10% had suffered from severe physical assault by a family member. 4% had been raped. 13% were under the age of 15 when they married. 7% had been subject to genital mutilation. The situation has worsened dramatically since 2013, and yet the Iraqi parliament has been sitting on the draft of the Family Protection Law since 2012, and more recently some political parties want to change the Personal Status Law in ways that will harm women. Read our report:

IF is pleased to announce the participation of President Rend al-Rahim in the UN Leaders’ Summit for Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism. The event highlights the cooperation of the US led coalition to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria. The event was headlined by President Obama and Prime Minister Abadi of Iraq.

 

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On June 29th, 2015, Iraq Foundation staff-member Tanyh Lowis attended a meeting organized by the Ministry for Women’s Affairs and chaired by Minister Bayan Nouri. The meeting was attended by representatives of Iraq’s civil society and resulted in the foundation of an emergency working group to implement the emergency National Action Plan (NAP) established under UN Resolution 1325. The working group consists of civil society representatives and high ranking government officials from all over Iraq. The working group will be aiding implementation of the emergency NAP to support IDP women inside and outside of camps, in addition to all victimized women who have been affected by the recent conflict in Iraq more generally. The working group will issue a report to highlight the emergency NAP’s progress by July 29th, 2015.

Ministry of Women- 1325 mtg

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On Tuesday June 9th, Ms. Rend al-Rahim, president of the Iraq Foundation, chaired a meeting to discuss the impact that the crisis in Iraq and the release of its Emergency National Action Plan will have upon the foundation’s AL-RASID project.

Since the Iraqi government released the original National Action Plan (NAP), becoming the first Middle Eastern Country to commit itself to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (Women, Peace, and Security), the Iraq Foundation has been working with partner NGO’s to monitor the strides made in Baghdad, Basra, Erbil, Babil and Ninewa toward women’s rights and representation. It has also worked toward building the capacity of national and local actors to implement the NAP and address GBV and raising awareness among boys and men.

However, with the onset of instability and security challenges to the government, it has amended the provisions of the NAP. This meeting targeted ways in which to adjust to these changes, ultimately incorporating them into AL-RASID’s Monitoring and Evaluation and strategy to increase the number of provincial task forces in the project’s target provinces.


 

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On May 24th 2015, the Iraq Foundation worked in coordination with Entisar Ali al-Jubouri, head of the Women and Children parliamentary committee, to hold a daylong workshop for newly elected officials inside the House of Representatives building. The meeting was led by IF president, Ms. Rend Al-Rahim, along with the other MPs and high rank government officials who are particularly knowledgeable on women, peace and security issues. The focus of this event was to increase the newly elected MPs’ awareness of relevant parliamentary committees such as the Committee for Women: Legal Committee. Forty-two government officials attended the meeting, and discussed various topics such as the specific protection needs of women and girls in conflict zones. Additionally, they focused on promoting women’s participation in addressing gender perspectives in peace processes, and discussed the value of empowering women and girls as active agents in peace and security. The workshop resulted in the drafting of ten recommendations to empower women, which will be presented to the cabinet in June.

 

Al-Rasid Meeting

The 2nd HEWAR stakeholder follow-up meeting took place on October 30th, 2014 at the Judicial Development Institute.

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The 3rd Stakeholder Follow-up meeting took place on February 26th, 2015 at the Judicial Development Institute.

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During February 2015 the five partner NGOs in Al-RASID provided 5 trainings for 344 stakeholders in the five provinces distributed as as follows: Erbil 86 (23 female and 73 male), Ninwa plain 60 (26 female and 34 male), Baghdad 41 (10 female and 41 male), Babil 93 (35 female and 58 male) and Basrah 65(31 female and 34 male).The participants represented women’s advocacy organizations, service providers, local community leaders and members of the judiciary and local law enforcement units.

 

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