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Introduction

The participation of women in political and electoral processes in Iraq has been hampered by numerous factors, despite Iraqi women’s determination to engage in the public sphere. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), the Iraq Foundation and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) conducted research between October 2019 and February 2020 aimed at documenting and understanding the challenges and unmet needs of women who run for elected public office. Five governorates, namely Baghdad, Basra, Ninewa, Najaf and Salah Al Din, were selected for assessment because they offer representative diversity in terms of demographic, social and political environments.

 

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Our project leaders conducting a workshop for Iraqi women

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shatha Saif Addeen Aldawoudi
25 year old
Kirkuk Province
B.A in law from the University of Kirkuk

“I am one of the trainees in the training workshop that addressed women’s political participation. I benefited a great deal from the workshop: I acquired strength, will power, perseverance, and courage, and learned that women have a heard voice and strength. From this strength and drive, I now have the ability strive to become a leader and participate in the political process. Although I am a lawyer, I lacked a lot (of skills), and now with this training I believe I am on the right path.”

 

 

 

 

Tamara Khalil
27 years old
Salaheddin Province,
B.A. Accounting

“It was an exceptional training workshop. I wasn’t anticipating being accepted but fortunately I was selected and I did very well. I benefited a lot and I gained knowledge and skills in leadership, advocacy, and media presence. After I completed my training I met with a number of NGOs, and I was selected as a coordinators for a program that trains election monitors for 2021, implemented by the Peace and Freedom Organization. Thank you for granting me this opportunity!”

 

 

 

 

 

Phase 1 Full Report: October 1, 2019 – February 15, 2020

Phase 2 Narrative Report: April 1, 2020 – November 15, 2020

 

With Support from the United Nations Mission to Iraq (UNAMI), and technical assistance from the Economic and Social Council for West Asia (ESCWA), the Iraq Foundation successfully completed Phase One and Phase Two of its project “Strengthening Women’s Political Participation in Iraq”. IF is pleased to release two publications from this project. The first, “Women Running for Elected Office in Iraq: Needs and Challenges”, is a needs-assessment study based on extensive interviews with current and former women MPs, provincial council members, and candidates, as well as women’s organizations, civil society actors, and focus groups. The interviews were accompanied by a review of the legislative foundations for women’s participation in Iraq’s elected bodies. The second report, “Promoting Women’s Political Participation in Iraq”, is a policy brief that takes a holistic approach to women’s political participation, examining the constitutional, political, legislative, economic, and cultural factors that impede women’s full participation in public life, and provides policy recommendations to the Iraqi government and parliament, political parties, local and international organizations, and the media. The Iraq Foundation wishes to thank the following: Dr. Soumaya Ibrahim for her authorship of needs-assessment study; Ms. Manar Zaiter for her authorship of the policy brief; UNAMI, for their consistent support of the project and review of the reports; and ESCWA for providing technical and editorial assistance.

Please find the links to the two publications below:

Coinciding with the twentieth anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325

On September 3, 2020, Iraq Foundation, in cooperation with UN Women, the Women Empowerment Department, Women MPs, with funding from the Swedish Development Agency, held a focused meeting on Security Council Resolution 1325 and the Second National Action Plan, in the presence of the First Lady, Dr. Sarbagh Salih, and a number of distinguished members of the House of Representatives and regional and international experts.

 

 

 

The Iraq Foundation (IF) wishes to contract with an External Evaluator to carry out an independent evaluation of its Women Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE) project, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. The one-year project is implemented in Ramadi, Anbar province; Tikrit, Salaheddin province; and Mosul and Hamdaniya, in Nenawa province, and targeted women, families, and local communities. For further information please see the attached Terms of Reference document.

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.

Al Rasid Monitoring and Evaluation Report

Please find the Monitoring and Evaluation Report (Arabic) for the Al Rasid Project.

Al Rasid Final Report

Women in Iraq face high levels of gender-based violence (GBV), even by regional standards. With almost 55% of women affected by GBV in diverse forms, and increased violence against women due to the crimes committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) there is a great need to combat this phenomenon in Iraqi society.

With the adoption in 2013 of a National Strategy (NS) for the Advancement of Women by the Government of Iraq (GOI), Iraqi society seems ready to face the challenges of combatting legal, social, and economic challenges faced by women. The 2014 launching of the National Action Plan (NAP) on UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 acknowledged the importance of women in the peacebuilding process.

Al-Rasid (The Monitor) capitalized on the momentum generated by these new initiatives, with the goal of supporting the NAP and monitoring and evaluating its implementation. . The project targeted national and provincial stakeholders, women victims of violence, including women displaced as the result of conflict, community members, and Iraqi society at large through the following three objectives:

Al-Rasid project was implemented and successfully completed in 5 provinces: Baghdad, Basra, Erbil, Babil and the Ninawa Plain and reached 3505 direct beneficiaries.

ERW Final Report_Page_01

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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