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Family event in Mosul

The Iraq Foundation (IF) is currently 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.

In the period December 1, 2018 -February 28, 2019, the Iraq Foundation and its partners implemented Objective 2 of the project. We completed the dialogue meetings (Objective 2, Activity 3), launched the family events (Objective 2, Activity 4), and held feedback meetings (Objective 2, Activity 5). Women Leaders (WL) who received training through the project held meetings with community women, of whom a large proportion are mothers, to raise awareness about VE, help women to identify signs of extremism or manifestations of violence, and coach them on building resilience by resolving family and community conflicts peacefully and through moderation and dialogue. WL encouraged community women to speak about their experiences and observations regarding violence and/or extremism, and how women can become mediators and agents in countering VE. Family events brought together mothers and children (both girls and boys) in community settings where competitive game

Family event in Hamdaniya

s and activities were played. WL and mothers observed the behavior of children during the competition to learn about children’s interactions and their ability to cooperate and compete peacefully. Local officials attended some of the family events. Following dialogue meetings and family events, WL held feedback sessions with mothers to assess the results of dialogues and community events and provide further coaching to mothers.

Notably, understanding about VE is expanding beyond the immediate beneficiaries targeted by the project. Community women who participated in the dialogue meetings, family events, and feedback sessions have been spreading their newly acquired knowledge and skills to other women, men, and children in their extended families and the community (please see Personal Narratives section below). WL have strengthened their status as coaches and mentors, and community women have encouraged others to benefit from their skills in mediation of conflicts or handling difficult situations with children. Teachers and other professionals who have participated in the project have been especially active in using their acquired knowledge and skills in their work environment, such as in classrooms, in medical clinics, and on the media. Local officials were supportive of the project, seeing it as a valuable contribution to CVE in their communities.

The Iraq Foundation (IF) is currently 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.

During the quarter September – November 2018, Iraq Foundation and its partners completed the third segment of the training for women in the four locations (Objective 1, Activity 2), with a three-day workshop devoted to developing their coaching and mentoring skills. Following this workshop, the women leaders began holding meetings with mothers in the community (Objective 2, Activity 3). The purpose of these “dialogue meetings” is to spread understanding of VE more broadly within the community through women’s networks, neighbors and families, and sensitize local women to manifestations of extremism and violence, whether within the family or within the community, with the objective of building resilience within families..

Women leaders used the coaching skills they had acquired through training to encourage women to question behavior around them, identify markers of violence, and explore ways in which women can mediate and mitigate actual or potential conflict, and encourage negotiation, moderation, and tolerance. Women leaders also undertook initiatives to mediate conflicts in the community, especially within families or between families.   They led meetings with local officials and stakeholders to inform them of their CVE mission and solicit their active participation and support in preventing or protecting against violence and undertaking remedial actions to avert potential extremism, such as among youth in schools.

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.