IF is thrilled to share many wonderful successes and accomplishments during the months of December and January! The video documentaries, created by Iraqi youth as part of the Interfaith Cooperation Project (ICP), are set to broadcast next month on Alsumaria TV! In addition, the winners of IF's short film contest have been picked and the films are available in Arabic on YouTube! The winning films were also broadcast on Al-Furat TV.
Kicking off our newly launched Women for Equitable Legislation (WEL) project, we are pleased to report the successful implementation of a roundtable meeting to address legal gaps in Iraqi legislation that discriminate against women! This roundtable brought together a cadre of legal experts, woman's rights advocates, high ranking government officials and parliamentarians to prioritize a legislative agenda to address discrimination in the Iraqi legal framework.
IF's Provincial Accountability and Governance (PAG) project staff and partners, set out in the provinces to provide training to Iraqi youth on the role of youth in fighting corruption. IF sponsored 30 workshops throughout Iraq and will provide funds for these youth to implement initiatives and small projects to promote accountability and curb corruption practices.
Our Empowering Iraqi Widows to Thrive project (EIWT) continues its valuable work with widows. We would like to share the success most recently of four widows from the Basra province, who were awarded small grants to start their own home-based businesses. They join 57 other widows in Basra, Dhi Qar, Maysan, Baghdad, and Nenawa, who have benefited from our vocational and entrepreneurial training during the current training cycle! IF congratulates these women on their hard work and determination and wishes them great success with their new ventures.
|As always, please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions about our projects or activities!|
With best wishes,
Winners of the PEDP Iraqi Youth Video Competition Announced!
|"The Promising Future"|
IF is pleased to announce the winners of the short film contest, which was launched last September as part of the Post Election Democracy Project's efforts to engage Iraqi youth in promoting peaceful conflict resolution across sectarian lines! The prize winners are Sadik Taher Ameen for his film entitled "The Promising Future", and Nawar Wa'el Jabar for "The Jewel of Iraqi Brotherhood". These films were broadcast recently on Al-Furat satellite TV and aired across Iraq. IF was pleased with the interest and range of submissions and it was no easy task to pick the winners!
"The Jewel of Iraqi Brotherhood"
Learn more and watch the videos...
While small grants awardees continued implementing their activities in the provinces, IF selected and awarded a 3rd batch of small grants to young Iraqis interested in leading grassroots civic initiatives in December and January.
IF Holds 8th Peer Networking Meeting for Incoming Iraqi Women Parliamentarians
On January 18, PEDP Incoming Iraqi Women Parliamentarians (IWPs) held their 8th Peer Networking Meeting at the Constitutional Hall in the Parliament Building. The meeting discussed the 2012 budget including revenues, expenditures and allocations, parliament committees' demands, and the budget's most important development related features. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Amira Al-Baldawi. Guest speakers included: Mr. Ubaid Mahal Freih, Deputy Secretary General for Finance and Administration in the Council of Ministers, and Economic expert, Ms. Salam Smaysem. Ms. Smaysem explained the concept of social welfare and the social welfare criteria followed by legislative bodies while analyzing the budget.
Learn more and view photos...
IF Holds 3nd Training Workshop for Civic Leaders on Monitoring and Reporting on the Iraqi Government's Protection of Civil and Political Liberties.IF successfully completed the 3nd PEDP civic leaders workshop in Erbil from January 20 - 22. 17 civic leaders participated in the workshop aimed at discussing the 2nd draft of a report on the Iraqi Government's Ability to Safeguard Civil Liberties. During the workshop, participants also evaluated the outcomes of the first report, and developed a strategy to promote the outcomes of the second report. The training was held in partnership with Freedom House and was facilitated by Mr. Marwan Maalouf and Ms. Courtney Radsch.
On January 27 2012, IF held the first roundtable meeting in Erbil as part of the newly launched Women for Equitable Legislation Project (WEL).
The goal of the meeting was to examine major areas where gaps exist in Iraqi legislation relative to the constitution and internationally accepted human rights law as well as explore how these gaps impact women and society as a whole. Participants assessed the progress that has been made in protecting woman's rights to-date, including the activities of the Committee of 80 and the lifting of Iraq's reservation Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women(CEDAW).
Learn more about the WEL project...
In preparation for the first roundtable meeting, IF held two expert meetings in Baghdad with judges and women legal experts in December. Bringing together a variety of legal stakeholders, the purpose of the first meeting was to discuss the most important laws (or gaps in legislation) that need to be addressed to improve women's rights, the most significant initiatives undertaken to date to address these laws, the obstacles faced, and suggestions for the best strategies and tools. Participants included judges from the Higher Judicial Council, judges from Shura Council, and representatives from the Prime Minister office, State Ministry for Women and Ministry of Human Rights, as well as civic leaders and legal experts. A second meeting took place on Thursday, December 29 at IF's Baghdad office. The meeting discussed the most important laws, decisions and orders dealing with women's rights, the most significant initiatives taken to date to address these laws, obstacles hindering the effectiveness of these initiatives and suggestions for best practices and tools.
Learn more about these meetings...
We are thrilled to announce that Alsumaria TV will begin broadcasting the winning films created as part of IF's Interfaith Cooperation Project (ICP) in early March! The students created documentary films expoloring Iraqi's heritage, celebrating the multiplicity of unique backgrounds that create the modern Iraq. Alsumaria has worked with the ICP film makers to compile a five-part TV series to be broadcast on Alsumaria TV on the following saturdays" March 3rd, March 10th, March 17th, March 24th, and March 31st betwwen 1:45 and 1:50pm (Iraq time).
In preparation for the broadcast, IF arranged the taping of five Question and Answer (Q&A) sessions with the ICP youth film makers, students from local universities, members of Iraqi civil society leaders, and representatives from Iraq's diverse faith communities. These Q&A sessions will be integrated in the hour-long TV program that will be broadcast on Alsumaria.
In addition to these exciting events, ICP teams continued screening their documentaries during this period throughout Iraq's provinces. The screenings are aimed at showing that Iraq's minorities are indigenous to Iraq and many of them are descendants of those who lived in ancient Assyria and had a continuous presence in the country ever since.
Learn more about the ICP project
Visit the ICP Facebook group
During the month of December 2011, IF facilitated the implementation of 30 one-day youth educational workshops in 15 provinces. The workshops were delivered to university and high school students/youth between the ages of 15 and 19 to engage this important sector of the community in the efforts against corruption. The workshops helped the trainees to foster civic values to promote transparency, good governance and promoted measures to curb corruption. In each province, IF and members of local Integrity Monitoring Groups (IMGs) held 2 one-day trainings. Each training targeted 50 local students/youths and explained IF's and the IMGs' work over the last two years fighting corruption and promoting good governance, and presented some examples of corruption incidents. The IMGs explained the role of youth in the fight against corruption and gave talks on Iraq's National Anti-corruption Strategy, the Code of Conduct (COC), and Agendas for Change as well as relevant information from the UN Convention against Corruption.
IF and the IMGs also introduced the PAG website to the trainees and encouraged them to use it to monitor and report corruption. In addition, IF will sponsor youth-led initiatives and small projects throughout the provinces in the coming months.
Learn more about the trainings and view pictures...
Success Stories: IF Helps Widows Start Home Businesses, Secure Government Benefits, and Find Job Opportunities!
IF is thrilled to report that an additional four widows from Shat Al Arab, Basra were awarded grants to start their own small businesses in December and January with IF's assistance! We are pleased to add these four widows to the 57 who have already become economically self-sufficient during the 3rd training cycle. They join 60 other widows from the previous EIWT cycles, who have benefited from our vocational and entrepreneurial training this year and are using their newly acquired skills for economic sustainability.
In addition, six widows in Basra were able to receive their government benefits as a result of IF's intervention and the cooperation of Provincial Council Members, who supported EIWT widows to overcome all obstacles! These benefits include a monthly living stipend, which help provide financial stability to the widows and their families.
We are also pleased to announce that several candidates are being interviewed for jobs in Baghdad thanks to the cooperation and coordination of IF staff members and "Independent Iraqi Opinion," an NGO and Newspaper organization based in Baghdad.
Learn more and see photos December 2011
Learn more about the widows' successes in January 2012
Empowerment Training Update for the 3rd Training Cycle
As part of our efforts to improve the lives of Iraqi widows,
IF is pleased to announce the successful completion of the third cycle of training in several centers as part of the Empowering Iraqi Widows to Thrive (EIWT) project during the month of January. Training were completed in both Baghdad training centers (Karkh and Risafa) as well as in the Mdaina training center in Basra and Hamdania training center in Mosul. IF will complete the third cycle of training in the remaining three centers in February.
During December and January, IF also conducted numerous meetings in order to enhance the employment prospects of widow participants as well as empower them politically and social, as part of EIWT's extensive mentoring program. Notably on January 5, IF staff met with Relief & Economic Security Representative, and a field representative of the Red Cross in Baghdad in order to assist participants apply for mini-grants. These funds would enable the widows to establish small businesses and sustainable income. IF and the Red Cross already cooperate in the implementation of this program in the southern region and would like to expand to Baghdad as well.
Learn more about the 3rd Training Cycle...
|IF Launches Post Election Democracy Project (PEDP) Arabic Website: |
Visit the Website...
Civil Society Leaders Report Assessing the Iraqi Government's Transparency
The Democratic Transition in Iraq Report 2009-2010.
Read the first report published by IF's Civic Leaders as part of the Post Election Democracy Project (PEDP) assessing the Iraqi government's transparency and accountability as well as its ability to safeguard the full spectrum of civil and political liberties.
Download the Report (Arabic / PDF)...