Empowering Iraqi Widows to Thrive (EIWT) Project

Empowering Iraqi Widows to Thrive (EIWT) Project

Awarded: September 2010

Completion: February 2013

The Iraq Foundation (IF) was awarded grant from the US Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI) for a two-year project to improve the quality of life of marginalized widows in disadvantaged areas and equip them to be productive contributing participants in the Iraqi economy and Iraqi society. The project will be implemented in the Baghdad, Ninawah, Maysan, Basra and Dhi Qar governorates of Iraq.

Building on the succes of IF’s Widows Empowerment Project, which was implemented from May 2008 to May 2010, EIWT continued the effort to assist the thousands of widows living in Iraq continue to struggle. With the support of the Iraqi Ministry of Health and Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, as well as local municipal and district councils and local hospitals, the EIWT project was designed to meet the diverse needs of Iraq disadvantaged widows. The project operated at two levels: 1) Providing life skills education and education in women’s rights and citizenship to a large group of widows. This training improved the participants’ quality of life and increased their participation in the public domain. 2) A smaller group of widows was be selected to receive vocational and entrepreneurial skills training tailored to the specific needs of their location. In conjunction with the education and training components, the project provided on-going support and mentoring to “graduating” widows. The project had the following objectives:

Objective (1) Increase women’s participation in public life as confident and informed citizens with constitutionally mandated rights, as accomplished through conducting women’s rights and citizenship education courses delivered to 1,120 widows in seven locations.

Objective (2) Improve the quality of life by improving family health and family well-being, interpersonal relations, and coping capacities through conducting education training on life skills education, including family health and wellbeing, interpersonal relations, and life skills.

Objective (3) Empower widows to participate effectively in the economy and achieve sustainable income generation through a multiple Vocational Skills Training program conducted in 7 locations throughout Iraq, and tailored to specific community needs.

Objective (4) Enable widows to gain greater access to social services and to the income generating opportunities available in their communities and achieve family stability.  Activities to accomplish this objective included a comprehensive mentoring program to assist widows in the development and realization of individual life goals, accessing social services and government benefits, and to connect beneficiaries to locally available financial resources and employment opportunities.

Through this mentoring and the development of new life and vocational skills, this project is designed to be highly sustainable, creating lasting benefits for the widows it serves.