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We at the Iraq Foundation send our best wishes to friends, supporters, and colleagues during this holiday season and for the New Year!



To Conduct a Study of Needs and Challenges for Women Running for Elected Office in Iraq


The Iraqi constitution mandates a quota of 25% for women in the Council of Representatives (COR), the national parliament, and in the Provincial Councils (PCs), elected in each of the eighteen provinces. The existence of the quota since 2005 has helped many women assume elected office and raised the profile of women in politics. Despite this, women candidates have difficulty in winning seats in COR or in PCs on their own merit, without the quota system. According to statements by women candidates, women need support in a variety of areas in order to strengthen their candidacy and present a persuasive alternative to the electorate. 

The Iraq Foundation (IF), an independent NGO working in Iraq since 2003, will implement a project to study the challenges, and the opportunities, facing women candidates for elected office, with the purpose of providing the international community and local stakeholders with a needs-assessment/study that can form the basis of evidence-driven future support. The project is supported by, and will be carried out in coordination with, the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI). All reports and other outputs of the project will be shared with UNAMI. The Economic and Social Council for West Asia (ESCWA) will provide input on international standards and best practices. In a subsequent phase of the project, and in the context of Provincial Council elections scheduled for April 2020, IF intends to use the findings of the study to carry out training for women candidates PC elections in early 2020. 

The Iraq Foundation seeks to hire a regional expert to prepare a framework and tools for the needs-assessment/study, train local researches to conduct the research, and submit a report and recommendations based on the research outcomes. The regional expert will report to the Iraq Foundation. Where indicated, the regional expert will consult with ESCWA.

Specific Terms of Reference

  1. Using international standards, design a framework for a study of the needs of women candidates for elected office in Iraq and the electoral challenges they face. Consult with ESCWA in finalizing the framework.
  2. Work with a local consultant to define the local context for the study
  3. Train local researchers 
  4. Oversee the conduct of the research and compile data.
  5. Prepare a needs-assessment study based on the research, with a recommendation for specific assistance to meet the needs. Consult with ESCWA in finalizing the study


Scope of Work

  1. Using international standards, prepare a methodology and tools in Arabic to conduct research into the needs of women candidates and the practical challenges they face in their candidacy for elected office. ESCWA will provide input on international standards and regional models. 
  2. Communicate with Iraqi local gender expert to anchor the research in the local Iraqi socio-political context 
  3. Train local researches on methodology and proper use of research tools 
  4. Compile and analyze data from the research output 
  5. Prepare a draft study in English based on the research, identifying the electoral needs of women candidates, and recommending interventions by local and international agencies. Obtain input from ESCWA on international standards and regional models
  6. Submit the draft study to the Iraq Foundation for review 
  7. Edit and submit the final study to Iraq Foundation

Specific Deliverables

  1. A framework and tools for research in Arabic
  2. Training of local researchers in Arabic
  3. English language report/needs assessment with recommendations for action

Required Skill and experience

  1. Demonstrated understanding of women’s political participation in the MENA region 
  2. Demonstrated experience in research and study of needs and challenges facing women in politics in the MENA region
  3. Excellent written and oral skills in English and Arabic 
  4. Ability to travel to Erbil
  5. Preferred: previous work with UN agencies


Estimated number of working days: 20 days from October 15- December 30, including two days in Erbil. 

Remuneration: $11,000. Travel and per diem expenses will be paid by the Iraq Foundation.

Deadline for receiving applications: October 5, 2019.

Please respond to:, with a copy to

The Iraq Foundation (IF) wishes to contract with an External Evaluator to carry out an independent evaluation of its Women Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE) project, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. The one-year project is implemented in Ramadi, Anbar province; Tikrit, Salaheddin province; and Mosul and Hamdaniya, in Nenawa province, and targeted women, families, and local communities. For further information please see the attached Terms of Reference document.

The Iraq Foundation (IF) has a paid internship position for a college senior, recent graduate, or graduate student, focusing on international relations, Middle Eastern affairs or a related field. The position requires a minimum of 20 hours per week and will begin in early August 2018 and end in May 2019.

IF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that carries out projects in Iraq to promote democracy, human rights, civil society and human development. IF’s headquarters is based in Washington, DC with an office in Baghdad, Iraq as well.



The Intern will assist in managing Iraq Foundation contact lists; research and identify new funding opportunities from the federal government and international organizations, as well as private funding sources; develop and manage web and social media content; draft quarterly newsletters and monthly bulletins about project activities; research relevant background information and liaise with project staff; work with staff on to develop proposals, budgets and reports; and take minutes during internal meetings and conference calls as requested.




Excellent writing skills

Excellent knowledge of Microsoft Office

Knowledge of CSS for WordPress or other website management skills



Previous internship or other work experience

Focus on international relations, Middle Eastern affairs, or human rights


Interested applicants should email a detailed resume and cover letter to:, subject line: “Internship Opportunity 2018”

Yesterday, IF President Rend Al-Rahim attended a ceremony at the residence of Ambassador Farid Yasseen in Washington, DC to hand back to the Iraqi government over 3,800 ancient cuneiform tablets, cylinder seals, and other antiquities smuggled out of Iraq.


SFS InviteIraq Foundation is proud to support the Sun Force Sisters Informational Discussion about their critical work in Iraqi Kurdistan helping female survivors of ISIS’ Yazidi genocide.

Thursday, October 26, 2017
The Middle East Institute, 1319 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036


The Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act (HR 390) has passed the US House of Representatives with bipartisan support and is now in the hands of the US Senate. The bill will provide essential humanitarian relief to religious and ethnic minorities that have experienced unthinkable atrocities as victims of genocide at the hands of the ISIS, and will promote accountability for the perpetrators of these offenses.

IF places its full support behind HR 390 and urges its swift passage by the Senate so it may be presented to President Trump for his signature. The sooner this bill is passed, the sooner vulnerable persons in Iraq and Syria can receive the vital support they so desperately need. The passage of this bill with the support it has already received from both parties will be a strong, unifying message from the American people that we recognize the atrocities that have been committed on these populations by ISIS and will not abandon them during their time of need.

IF President Rend Al Rahim has signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging his support and full effort in passing this bill in the nearest possibly time frame. The people of Iraq and Syria are counting on us.

Click Here to read the full text of the HR 390



IF is proud to commemorate 12 years of hard work by our Iraq Country Manager in Baghdad,Dhefaf Al-Jarahi.Dhefaf has been with the Foundation since 2005 and has been a leading force behind our programs on the ground in Iraq ever since. Her passion for her work is apparent every day and is a true embodiment of the mission of IF to create a better future for the people of Iraq. IF wishes her nothing but further successes and achievements down the line.



Open letter to Mr. António GuterresUnited Nations SecretaryGeneral

Letter from a group of Women Civil Society Organisations in MENA

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

We congratulate you on your appointment as Secretary-General of our United Nations and, recalling your swearing-in ceremony where you called on leaders to listen to the needs of their people in the interest of the global stability upon which we all depend, we call on you to heed the recommendations set out herein in your mission to serve our common humanity.

As women activists from the Middle East and North Africa, we have witnessed the important role women are playing in bringing about positive change in the region, often at considerable personal risk to themselves and their family. Following a 10- year campaign by women’s organizations in Yemen, the Yemeni National Dialogue fixed the age of consent to marriage at 18 years for both sexes in the draft constitution. Meanwhile in Morocco we drafted legislation to combat people trafficking, working in alliance with parliamentary blocs to ensure the draft was considered and approved. From Libya through to Iraq, women have provided essential medical, legal, psychosocial and financial support to victims of war and conflict – often without prior experience of rights-based community activism.

Despite these gains however, women in the region continue to face grave threats. We refer first, to the deepening of violence perpetrated against women before, during and after conflict. Women are increasingly impacted by the spread of small and light weapons, Similarly, the extensive use of explosive weapons in highly populated areas, and the systematic destruction of infrastructure and health facilities affected women in Syria and Yemen gravely and disproportionately. Conflict-affected countries have also experienced steep rises in people trafficking, principally women and girls, who are often forced into domestic and sex work and slavery. In Palestine, women are at the receiving end of increased domestic and other forms of social violence associated with the effects of a protracted military occupation. Similarly in Egypt, incidences of sexual harassment and assault on women have multiplied exponentially since 2011.

Second, the failure of mechanisms to support meaningful participation of women activists and women’s organizations in political processes both at the domestic and international levels means that women’s experiences and perspectives have been largely absent from dialogue and decision making to resolve conflicts. In Syria, we have been unable to influence negotiating parties to agree to a 30 per cent quota for women’s representation, whilst in Yemen the participation of women in UN- sponsored peace last summer was abysmal with two (2) women representing the government, one (1) woman representing the General People’s Congress, and zero (0) women representing the Houthis.

Third, the increasingly repressive measures against civil society, including restrictions on NGO registration, scope of work and funding, as well as freedom of movement through the imposition of travel bans on activists by individual regimes and more recently by the USA, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, against seven Muslim-majority countries, mostly in the MENA region, represent attempts to silence the rarely heard voices of civil and political activists working to secure and safeguard human rights and equality for all in the face of extreme adversity. Ultra conservative and reactionary elements in political currents across the MENA region, and globally, have made advocacy on women’s rights issues near impossible, with women human rights defenders becoming victims of murder and enforced disappearance.

You will be aware that popular feeling towards the United Nations throughout the Middle East and North Africa is one characterised by a lack of faith in the Organisation’s ability to implement its mandate in line with the principles of the Charter. You will know that this is because the Security Council has repeatedly been unwilling to responsibly discuss the situation in numerous countries of the region, including Syria and Palestine, let alone enforce its own resolutions. You will know that trust has been lost because of the actions of some UN agencies, funds and programmes in the region.

But you may not know that our trust has also been lost because of the lack of action on the part of some UN envoys and mediators in the region to implement Security Council resolutions and other provisions of international law which call for the meaningful inclusion of women in their delegations and negotiating parties. Indeed, some envoys have publicly questioned the relevance of CEDAW in the region.

We welcome your acknowledgement of the shortcomings of the United Nations today and your commitment to reform the way it works. As part of your road map to advance women’s rights and set the UN back on track as an Organization that works for the common interests of our shared humanity, we set out below 10 points which we urge you to consider:

  1. Include the candidate’s track record in advancing women’s rights as a central criteria in making senior appointments, including envoys, mediators and representatives, as well as the head of the departments of Political Affairs and Peacekeeping Operations. Such appointments should also be gender- balanced and culturally diverse.
  2. Ensure that senior staff, including envoys and mediators to conflict countries in the MENA region, as well as representatives and heads of the departments of Political Affairs and Peacekeeping Operations, comply with international law. In particular, Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and its associated resolutions, and CEDAW, including through robustly advocating with negotiating parties to meaningfully include women in their delegations, including through quotas, and to integrate women’s experiences, rights and perspectives through the work of the delegations.
  3. Ensure sustained, high level gender expertise to the UN Secretary General including through an ongoing Senior Gender Advisor to the Executive Office of the Secretary General with core support and a high level of influence, in order to ensure that women’s rights and gender issues are integrated across all analysis, planning, policies and activities.
  4. Strongly encourage the Security Council to integrate women’s rights and gender throughout its work, including by reporting on the 2015 Global Study on Women, Peace and Security in thematic and country-level work both in and outside of New York.
  5. Ensure reliable, accessible, and flexible UN funding to women’s organizations and efforts in support of women’s rights at the grassroots level is prioritised and increased by advocating for other multilateral and bilateral donors to increase their support; encouraging substantial increase in development assistance allocated to women-led civil society for gender equality (CRS code 15170); calling for strengthening of civil society-inclusive UN funds (such as the Global Acceleration Instrument, Peacebuilding Fund WPS Initiative); developing strategies to enhance participation of women led civil society in donor conferences, and; calling for the lifting of restrictions on the work of women’s organisations and human rights defenders due to domestic ‘counter-terrorism measures’, in Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Lebanon especially.
  6. Take concrete actions to address the shrinking civil society space in the MENA region as well as the systematic targeting of women human rights defenders.
  7. Ensure that UN Women works collaboratively with and in support of women’s grassroots associations, including by adequately investing in gender and peace budgets of UN Women, DPA, DPKO and other entities; providing training and support and; ensuring monitoring and accountability mechanisms to evaluate such initiatives that enable women to contribute to cycles of learning and improvement for peace.
  8. Condemn the proliferation of explosives, small firearms and light weapons in the region, which have immediate and long-lasting effects that include the destruction of civilian infrastructure and increased gender based violence.
  9. Strengthen UN support for fragile and conflict affected states to realise the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 5 and 16 on gender equality and peace. This should include: addressing gender equality and peace data gaps including on arms transfers, which directly impact gender based violence (SDG 16.4); taking action to increase the number of UN funds that include civil society in the leadership and financial allocation of the funds (such as with the Global Acceleration Instrument); building mechanisms with international financial institutions to strengthen women’s meaningful inclusion, and evaluating and improving the impact on women’s human rights in conflict settings of IFIs in post-conflict reconstruction.
  10. Establish a women’s civil society board to regularly advise him and his team on issues relating to the advancement of women’s rights. This board should be comprised of representatives of women’s organizations, including youth movements, from across the globe as well as New York-based organizations.
  11. The Secretary-General should report yearly to the General Assembly on progress made on (i) the integration of women’s rights and gender issues across the three pillars of the Organization, human rights, peace and security and development and (i) your commitment to reach gender parity across the Secretariat, and Agencies, Funds and Programmes.

We stand ready to work together to move from a culture of fear of one another to trust in each other, and to work with you, Secretary-General, to build a world defined by the values enshrined in the UN Charter, and to restore trust in the United Nations.

Yours, in respect and solidarity,

ABAAD – Resource Centre for Gender Equality – Lebanon

Adaleh for Rights and Freedoms – Yemen

Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development – Egypt

ASUDA – Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Atwar for Research and Community Development – Libya

Awan Organization – Iraq

Badael – Syria

Baghdad Women Association – Iraq

Basmat for Development – Syria

Bihar Relief Organisation – Syria

Dawlaty – Syria

Fondation NISSA pour la Culture et la Démocratie – Tunisia

House of Ideas – Yemen

Iraqi 1325 Network – Iraq

Iraq Foundation – Iraq

Kesh Malek – Syria

Musawa-Women’s Studies Center for Equality – Syria

Palestinian Women Development Society – Palestine

Sawa for Development and Aid – Lebanon

Sawa Foundation – UK

Sisters’ Arab Forum for Human Rights (SAF) – Yemen

Syrian Female Journalists Network – Syria

Syrian Feminist Lobby – Syria

Syrian League for Citizenship – Syria

Syrian Women League – Syria

To Be for Rights and Freedoms – Yemen

Together We Build it – Libya

Union for Women’s Action – Morocco

Urnammu – Syria

Woman Leadership Institute – Iraq

Women Now for Development – Syria

Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling – Palestine

1325 Network – Libya

Arabic Version:

IF commends the United States House of Representatives on approving the bipartisan Women, Peace, and Security Act that will make women’s inclusion a key pillar to US foreign policy. This action will strengthen peace and security initiatives by affirming the presence of women in dialogue, a critical component to ensuring stability. In doing so, the Act asserts that the US is committed to making the significant contribution of women in preventing and resolving conflict a core priority. Inclusive security has long been championed by IF through our work in Iraq, most notably with our ongoing Al Rasid Project. The legislation will now be sent through the United States Senate for final approval.

To contact your local senator to encourage their support on the Women, Peace, and Security Act, call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121