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On July 18 2011, IF held the 6th Peer Networking Meeting in the Iraqi COR. The meeting discussed the loopholes in the Parliament bylaws as well as female MPs’ and civil society’s contributions in revising the Parliament bylaws. Only 10 Parliamentarians had the chance to attend this meeting due to the fact that most parliamentarians were in the Kurdish region and bad weather conditions prevented planes coming from Erbil from taking off. MP Fatima Toumane, who had heard about the project and requested to join the program, was present at the meeting. State Ministry for Parliament Affairs’ adviser, Mr. Mu’taz Al-Abbasi and Chairman of the board of the National Dialogue Forum Mr. Ali Akaab Al-Samah also attended the meeting.

During the meeting Dr. Al-Abbasi explained that the COR Bylaws organize the work of the legislative authority and organize the relationship between the legislative and the executive authority. In addition, the COR Bylaws should be in line with the Constitution and the legislative and executive authorities should participate in drafting  them, they should be subject to appeal if they violate the Constitution, and they should include the principle of separation between authorities.

Civil society activist Mr. Ali Ekab Al-Samah talked about the role of civil society in reforming the parliament bylaws. He briefed the audience on his organization’s work (a forum that includes 600 NGOs) and indicated that his forum was able to influence the draft committee during the process of writing of the Iraqi constitution. Their successes include the inclusion of hearing sessions for civil society at Parliament Committees.

Former and re-elected Parliamentarian also joined the debate: MP Samira Al-Musawi emphasized the importance of keeping the channels of communication open between parliament and civil society. She indicated that during a rent trip to the US, she was very impressed by the number of hearing sessions and realized that hearing sessions were instrumental in the process of decision-making. MP Nada Al-Juburi agreed and added that civil society should be taken more seriously by parliament because it represents the voice of the people.

On May 2nd 2011, IF held the fifth Peer Networking Meeting. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Amira Al-Baldawi and took place at the Constitutional Hall in the Iraqi Parliament. The meeting was facilitated by Global Partners Associates’ Ms. Faten Hussein and attended by 17 IWPs as well as by former Parliamentarian Mr. Basim Sharif.  Ms. Hussein discussed the reports of the permanent committees in the CoR including the reports’ relevance, preparation, and impact as well as the lessons learned from previous reports from the committees’ archives. Former parliamentarians shared their previous experience and led the Q & A session. For example former MP, Ms. Amal Al-Qadi shared with the participants her experience working with the Integrity Committee in the previous parliament. She stressed the importance of archiving the reports so the work done by previous committees can be built on by the successors. Ms. Hussein stressed the importance of submitting requests in the name of Parliament committees as opposed at personal level. Committees’ requests will carry more weight, she said and can lead to better outcomes. MP Samira Al-Musawi drew a comparison between the U.S. Congress’ and the Iraqi Parliament’s work to stress the importance and the necessity to have advisers advise MPs on various issues. She urged her counterparts to get help in order to learn more about the various issues that they deal with especially when they are not experts in the field.

An important recommendation of the meeting was to make the committees’ yearly reports submissions a requisite. IWP Najiba Najib offered to put this into action by circulating a petition aimed at revising the Parliament by-laws to include a section to make the committees’ yearly reports submissions mandatory.

IF held the 4th Peer Networking Meeting in the CoR building of the Iraqi Parlaiment on March 15, 2011. The IWPs program is drawing more and more attention and we are very pleased to announce that in addition to the project participants three non-IWPs members attended the networking meeting. The March 15th meeting was attended by 17 IWPs and took place at the Iraqi Parliament Constitutional Hall from 9:00-11:30 am. The theme of the meeting was: “Bill drafting”. Topics covered included: The roles and responsibilities of different institutions during the process of bill drafting; parliament’s role in bill drafting including different committees’ roles as well as difficulties and challenges; the process of repealing laws according to the Constitution and the national tasks; the contradiction between the proposal and draft law between the Constitution and the Parliament bylaws and Supreme Court’s decision about who is entitled to make laws.

Speakers included:

  • Parliament Affairs’ State Minister’s adviser Dr. Mu’taz Al-Abbasi;
  • Former parliamentarian Judge Wa’el Abdel Latif;
  • MP Mohsen Saadoun; and
  • Head of Research department in the Iraqi COR, Dr. Mayada Al-Hajami.

The meeting was also attended by former parliamentarians who shared their experiences with the participants.

Photos:

On January 30 2011, IF held the third IWPs peer networking meeting. The meeting was held in one of the Iraqi Parliament building rooms and attended by 17 IWPs. Topics covered included:

  •  General state budgeting
  •  Budget comparisons between the 2010 and 2011 budgets
  •  Parliament’s role in discussing and ratifying the budget pursuant to the constitution and the parliament bylaw
  •  Challenges faced while ratifying previous budgets

 The meeting was chaired by former MP Amira Al-Baldawi.  Other lecturers included Mr. Najeh Al-Khafaji, former general Director of the Budget department-Finance Ministry, Mr. Ahmed Shinan, Research Department- budget division in the COR, and MP Haidar Al-Ubadi, former head of the Economic committee and current member of the Finance committee.

We’re happy to report that the growing reputation of the Iraqi Women Parliamentarians IWPs program is starting to draw a lot of attention. As an indicator of the success of the project, IF was contacted in January by two new women MP who heard about the program and requested to participate in the IWPs future activities.

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IF is pleased to report that Bushra Hussein Saleh, one of its IWP members was offered a state ministry on December 22nd 2010! Ms. Saleh declared that she owes her success to her party (Fadila party) and to the capacity building she received from the Iraq Foundation.

Ms. Saleh expressed her desire to remain in the program and continue participating in the PEDP project as an active member of the IWPs program. Also during December, IWPs actively participated in a petition aimed at increasing the participation of Iraqi women in the political process. 106 signatures were collected to demand that women be given the posts of vice-president and deputy prime minister as well as 25% of the ministries. The petition also requested that Iraqi women be given the merit they deserve on the basis of partnership and women’s proportion in the Iraqi society.

On November 9th, 2010 IF held the second Peer Networking Meeting with the Iraqi Women Parliamentarians (IWPs). The meeting took place at the Constitutional Hall in the Iraqi Council of Representatives (CoR) in Baghdad and was attended by several new IWPs as well as former Parliamentarians Mr. Fouad Rawanduzi and Mr. Hamid Majeed. During the meeting, participants discussed monitoring mechanisms in CoR committees according to the CoR bylaws and suggestions for improving the CoR bylaws.  IF’s Executive Director Ms. Rend Al-Rahim.  As a result of this activity, several IWPs proposed new CoR bylaws in the Iraqi legislator. 

IWPs-2nd per network meeting – Nov. 9 – 2010.

Ms. Rend Al-Raheem and Dr. Amira Al-Baldawi (Opening session of the IWPs 2nd per network meeting
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Dr. Mua’taz Al-Abbassi  (Consultant for the State Minister for the CoR issues (guest in the meeting)

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Ms. Amal Al-Khadi (former PM) speaking during the session

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Mr. Firyad Rawandouzi – PM (Guest): talking about the monitoring mechanisms of the Security and Defense Committee

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Ms. Samira Al-Musawi – PM presenting her speech during the meeting.

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Ms. Samira Al-Musawi – PM presenting her speech during the meeting.

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Discussions and exchanging questions and answers during the session.

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Mr. Hameed Majeed – PM (Guest): talking about the relationship between the constitution and the CoR.

On October 5, 2010 IF hosted a networking and development meeting for the 15 Iraqi Women Parliamentarians (IWPs) who are participating in IF’s Post Election Democracy Project (PEDP).  Meeting at the  Al-Alwiyah Social Club in Baghdad to strengthen skills as leading legislators and community leaders, the 15 participants discussed two main topics: Parliament committees’ work and how to choose the right committee; and the importance of setting up a parliamentary office. The meeting was chaired by former MP Dr. Amira Al-Baldawi and three re-elected parliamentarians and a former parliamentarian’s head of office were invited to the meeting and shared their experiences with the new IWPs.

Due to the blast that occurred on a road that leads to the meeting venue, many IWPs were not able to make it to the meeting. IF sent the minutes to those who were not able to attend.

 

The first IWPs Meeting-Empowering incoming women parliamentarians –PEDP:  Oct. 5, 2010

Alaa’a Al-Sadoun-Former PM-(IWPs meeting)

Samira Al-Musawi-Former PM (IWPs meeting)

Safiya Al-Suhail-Former PM (IWPs Meeting)

Nada Al-Jubouri-Former PM – (IWPs meeting)

From July 18-22, 2010, IF successfully held the first Iraqi Women Parliamentarians’ (IWP) workshop in Beirut-Lebanon. The workshop included 19 Iraqi women parliamentarians (15 newly elected, 3 re-elected and one former parliamentarian) coming from various provinces and representing almost all political parties. Trainers/speakers included Moroccan and Lebanese Parliamentarians as well as regional and international experts.

Topics covered included:

1. Approaches to conflict resolution, consensus building, and negotiation
2. Public speaking and leadership
3. Research and administration
4. Committee operation
5. Constituents relations
6. Oversight of the executive branch agencies
7. Policy analysis

Participants were extremely pleased with the workshop and the material covered. They were also particularly happy that IF gave them the opportunity to meet each other abroad and start building alliances based on common interests regardless of their party affiliation. 

The level of interaction was very high and the quality and number of questions reflected a strong grasp of the material, an ability to relate the material to real life issues, and a keen interest to develop personal skills.

Al-Mada Newspaper

Al-Sabah Newspaper

 

Resource CD

During November and December 2013, Ms. Murouj Emad, participant in the Youth Civic Camps of 2013, led a group of youth in a charity campaign in Kirkuk to help young students and the poor.  Many people donated money to help.  Ms. Emad and her youth group donated winter clothes including raincoats to about 60 students in “July Elementary School”, which is located in a poor neighborhood in Kirkuk City.  Another group of youth from Kerbala performed the same initative during December and donated winter clothes to elementary school students in Al-Nasir District-Karbala City and in Najaf City.

Pictures:


Ms. Murouj Emad distributing winter cloths to elementary school students in Kirkuk

Elementary school students in Najaf City, recipients of winter clothes