A combined event, observing 10 years of DRC and DDG in Iraq and the successful completion of the second phase of technical vocational training, took place on 16th December in Baghdad.
"I am glad we can gather again for another occasion like this because the desire to transform the lives of vulnerable families, which began with enhancing their skills, is gradually coming to fruition", says Michael Bates, Danish Refugee Council, Country Director, Iraq. Michael Bates adds that the day is also important because it gives a perfect time to illustrate some of the excellent programming both DRC and DDG have done in Iraq over the past 10 years.
Four months ago, DRC in collaboration with the Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs started the second phase of technical vocational training for 510 beneficiaries in the governorates of Diyala, Missan, Basra and Baghdad. The training, funded by the Australian Government, is part of DRC's livelihoods program aiming to provide sustainable solution for displacement-affected people and female-headed-households in Iraq. The graduates, among them 408 women, will be proud recipients of certificates in several vocational disciplines, which will assist them in their search for jobs or running their own business.
Sectarian violence, explosive remnants of war and population displacement are part of the humanitarian challenges Iraq is still facing. There are currently around 1.3 million Internally Displaced People in Iraq; many fearing return to their places of origin due to the increasing wave of sectarian violence, which shows no sign of abating. The displacement situation is even exacerbating with the influx of approximately 220, 000 Syrian refugees in Iraq, mostly in the Kurdistan Region.
"Recently, we conducted series of dialogue meetings, which brought together officials of government, religious and traditional leaders, civil society and women organizations, to promote the idea that women and people affected by displacement can play a significant role in the nation building process," says Michael Bates.
DRC learnt from the participants that laws and traditional practices in Iraq are rigid, hindering the access to rights of displacement-affected people, especially women.
DRC is using this 10th year anniversary to call on the Government of Iraq as well as the International Community to stay committed and increase funding to the humanitarian sector. The Government of Iraq can do more to assist the vulnerable in Iraqi society. In particular this includes, women, Internally Displaced Iraqis, Syrian refugees and many others on the margin of society.
Ten years today, in 2013, DRC and DDG have stayed committed to fostering long-term, sustainable solutions in Iraq. DRC and DDG are by focusing on clearing contaminated land; ensuring access to legal assistance and shelter; enhancing skills through training and apprenticeship programs and promoting employment opportunities for the displaced and extremely vulnerable households. In recent months, DRC also increased its emergency intervention to assist Syrian refugees in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.