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Empowering Returnee Women Final Report

Over the course of 9 months Iraq Foundation trained female head of households in liberated areas of return in the three provinces of Anbar, Nenawa, and Salaheddin. Through these trainings, the women developed the capacity to serve as leaders and advocates for other women in their communities as they rebuild their lives. This report details objectives, results, success stories, and recommendations based on IF’s assessments throughout the project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To discuss the problems of families and women in liberated areas, on October 30th IF held a roundtable meeting in Baghdad with the Directorate for Women’s Empowerment in the Council of Ministers, and trained Women Leaders from Nenawa, Salaheddine and Anbar. The meeting was attended by senior representatives from several ministries, including the Ministries of Interior, Education, Defense and Health, as well as representatives from IF and the field teams from the 3 provinces.

Women Leaders requested:

  • Officials to conduct visits to the liberated provinces to identify the conditions of citizens and provide them with psychological and moral support after liberation from Da’esh.
  • Opening of offices to issue citizenship certificates in areas such as Qayyara to eliminate long distance travel to Mosul.
  • Opening of additional vocational training centers to eliminate financial burden of long distance travel to major cities.
  • Ministry of Interior to instruct police departments to start courses for women to learn self-defense to protect themselves and their families in the event of an emergency.
  • Greater support for healthcare and the provision of vaccines for children. Authorities were requested to address the issue of bad vaccines in health centers and work seriously to combat the diseases prevalent in camps, especially scabies and lice.
  • Follow up on the Social Welfare and Protection Law for widows and divorcees to provide psychological and moral support to them.

Representatives of the ministries outlined steps they would take to report these findings to their superiors and follow up with both the Women Leaders and IF. Ministry officials provided the women with hotline telephone numbers, personal lines, and contacts for communication with provincial councils. Some expressed the need for better communication between women and professional centers and the need to establish new centers in hard to reach areas.

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IF conducted a Leadership Training over a two-day span on advocacy, leadership, and networking for women leaders (WLs).

During the training, IF distributed smartphones to 60 WLs in three provinces (Anbar, Nenawa and Salaheddin). WLs attended technical training on communication skills through use of smartphone applications including Facebook, Viber, Whatsapp, Telegram and Instagram applications.

The WLs created groups with one another on Whatsapp to establish a mode of communication between them. These groups will allow the women to raise problems that they are facing and consult with their peers to seek solutions. The smartphones will also allow having an effective, real-time dissemination of critical information to their communities and officials on matters concerning healthcare, security, and more.

Cell phones cropDhefafa Al Jarahi,  IF’s Country Manager in Iraq, conducted field visits to attend the leadership training in Qayyarah and Al Jadaa in the province of Nenawa, and technical training in the Arbaeen neighborhood in the province of Salaheddin. IF contracted a technical expert in each of the three provinces to communicate with WLs and government agencies in the implementation areas.

During the month of July, the external evaluator visited all of the five locations in the three provinces to carry out focus group sessions, questionnaires and interviews.

IF is enabling trained women leaders (through their communications with security forces, local councils, community police and Family Protection Units (FPUs)) to provide ongoing information and updates to their community on security, available social and psycho-social services for women (e.g. counseling), legal services, government payouts to returnees, and other resources.

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IMG_2476Iraq Foundation Country Manager, Ms. Dhefaf Al-Jarahi, visited Hayy Arba’een district in Tikrit, Salaheddin province on May 25. As part of the Foundation’s project “Empowering Returnee Women”, she oversaw the training of returnee and IDP women leaders from Tikrit and provided technical assistance to the women.

ERW is supported by the German Government and seeks to build the capacities of returnee and IDP women in Nenawa, Anbar, and Salaheddin provinces, to become spokespersons and advocates for their communities. The training included women selected at previous workshops held in March and April for returnee and IDP women, with an emphasis on women with dependents. The workshops addressed 200 women, including 100 women from the Hayy Arba’een and another 100 from First Qadisiya districts in Tikrit. Through the discussion sessions, 24 women from Tikrit were selected based on their demonstrated potential and wish to become leaders and “ambassadors” for their communities.

Following the fruitful discussions with the women, which outlined their needs and aspirations, Al-Jarahi was greatly impressed with the high level of leadership and enthusiasm expressed by the women. Collectively, the strong drive they possess to improve their own lives and the lives of others in their communities was consistently apparent throughout.

The workshop on May 25 was the third day of training for the women in Tikrit, and is part of a series of workshops carried out by the Iraq Foundation in the three provinces.

 

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On May 18, Ms. Dhefaf Al-Jarahi, Country Manager of The Iraq Foundation, visited Al-Jadaa Camp in Qayyara District, Nenawa Province. In the context of the Foundation’s project “Empowering Returnee Women”,  she oversaw the training of returnee and IDP women leaders from Nenawa and joined the women and their families before and after the workshop.

The project, funded by the German Government, aims to build the capacities of returnee and IDP women in Nenawa, Anbar, and Salaheddin provinces, to become spokespersons and advocates for their communities. The training included women selected at previous workshops held in March and April for returning and IDP women, especially those with dependents. The workshops addressed 200 women, including 100 women from the Qayyara District center and 100 from Al-Jadaa. Through the discussion sessions, 24 women were selected based on their demonstrated potential and wish to become leaders and “ambassadors” for their communities.

On May 14-15, the first workshop was held in the Directorate of Education in Qayyara District center, and focused on communication skills, advocacy and advocacy strategy, negotiation skills, leadership skills and enhanced training with practical exercises. On May 17-18, the second workshop was held at the Eastern School of Akrabeh for the women leaders of the Al-Jadaa area.

Al-Jarahi held extensive conversations with the women to understand their needs and aspirations, and praised the high level of leadership and willingness of the women and their strong drive to improve their lives and the lives of their communities.

 

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DSC_0038IF has conducted multiple forums with Female Head of Households (FHH) in 5 recently liberated areas within the provinces of Anbar, Nenawa and Salaheddin. During these meetings, women volunteered to become leaders for their communities. These women will receive training to serve as advocates for their families and other women, and will work with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to relay information from Community Police Fora.

The empowerment of these women is essential to better facilitate stabilization in areas of return and enhance the safety and security of their neighbors. Empowering Returnee Women (ERW) project works with local authorities to assist this rebuilding process and create a platform that allows women to convey the most pressing needs facing their communities.

Next, the women will receive training on communication skills, advocacy strategies, negotiation skills, and networking skills. The exercises will strengthen the women’s capacity to act as advocates and ability to operate communications technology such as phone apps to assist in the disbursement of information.

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