Baghdad- February 18, 2014
One hundred and forty-nine (149) in Baghdad started receiving an assortment of essential tool kits from the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) after completing a four-month technical vocational training program to enhance their skills and increase access to the labor market and other opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.
The Danish Refugee Council in collaboration with the Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs completed 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 (AusAID), was part of DRC's livelihoods program aiming to provide sustainable solutions for displacement-affected people and female-headed-households in Iraq. Among the graduates, 408 are women (149 in Baghdad) and 102 are men. They received certificates in several vocational disciplines such as computer operating systems, hair dressing, sewing, electrical installation, welding, agriculture and blacksmithing. Following the completion of the technical curriculum, DRC facilitated additional training on setting up a small business, thus increasing their options to either search for jobs or run their own businesses.
The women are among the first group of recipients of tool kits including computers, printers, scanners, sewing machines and hair-dressing equipment worth over USD $93,000.
Similar distribution of tool kits will take place shortly in Missan, Diyala and Basra for rest of the beneficiaries. A post-training monitoring exercise is intended to follow the progress that beneficiaries are making in their respective fields of training and the impact they are experiencing in their personal lives.
Reflecting on their training, the women concluded that it was very useful in helping them obtain access to sustainable livelihood opportunities by broadening their knowledge and helping them become self-reliant through access to income generating activities. "Access to training and employment makes a difference in the lives of people affected by displacement, particularly women, who are either divorced, widowed or heads of their households", says Mayyada Al-Qasy, DRC's Senior Livelihoods Officer.
DRC implores the Government of Iraq and the corporate sector to provide more opportunities that will take women and displacement-affected people from the margin of society.