Stabilization in Iraq

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USAID-funded sewing machines distribution in Iraq
USAID is providing sewing machines to help returnees develop livelihoods to support themselves and their families.

Without a clear pathway towards durable solutions for IDPs and survivors of conflict, instability will continue to prevail across the country. USAID is supporting the return and reintegration of Iraqis through programs that provide tools and resources to help individuals and communities recover from crisis.

The violent and inhumane tactics of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in northern Iraq in 2014 caused over 6 million Iraqis to flee from their homes to internally displaced person (IDP) camps and other locations across the country. ISIS destroyed many homes and businesses along with public infrastructure, such as electricity and water, and health and education facilities during their occupation. In addition, ISIS perpetrated gross, systematic genocide of religious and ethnic minority groups, including slavery, inscription of child soldiers, and sexual violence.

As of December 2020, over 1.22 million Iraqis remain displaced. IDPs struggle to recover and safely return to the areas once occupied by ISIS due to immense destruction, enduring security threats, and lack of basic services and livelihood opportunities. Without a clear pathway towards durable solutions for IDPs and survivors of conflict, instability will continue to prevail across the country. USAID is supporting the return and reintegration of Iraqis through programs that provide tools and resources to help individuals and communities recover from crisis. 

Economic Recovery

USAID is helping small and medium enterprises by providing grants to both aspiring and established entrepreneurs to help them start up for the first time, or get back on their feet and grow their businesses. These grants are accompanied by in-person and remote coaching sessions to support entrepreneurs’ professional development. USAID also provides support to existing businesses in the form of competitive business grants to help them hire new employees, procure new equipment and supplies, and improve their management. In addition, USAID is assisting youth and other future entrepreneurs gain the skills and business acumen needed to establish their own businesses through intensive, 12-week vocational and business training programs.

Achievements to Date

  • USAID is supporting over 50 businesses in the Ninewa Plain and Sinjar, creating over 200 jobs through competitive business grants.
  • USAID is providing stipends to 147 youth to help them support themselves and their families as they complete vocational internships and learn new skills that will help them successfully enter the job market upon returning home. 

Local Capacity Development

USAID is building the capacity of community-based organizations to respond to the ongoing needs of IDPs in order to support a safe, voluntary, and durable return of these communities.

Achievements to Date

  • USAID is building the capacity of five local organizations in Sinjar while assisting them in implementing community peacebuilding and other reintegration and recovery activities for Yezidis and other returnees from religious and ethnic minority groups. Activities include sports tournaments, arts and crafts projects for former captured children, and community clean-up and improvement projects.
  • USAID is supporting the institutional and organizational development of the Chaldean Archdiocese of Erbil’s nascent NGO, the Ankawa Humanitarian Committee (AHC), to strengthen its ability to deliver relief services to vulnerable IDPs in protracted displacement in Erbil.

Rehabilitating Critical Infrastructure

USAID is the largest donor or the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), a 28-donor, multilateral program that aims to stabilize areas recently liberated from ISIS by restoring damaged or destroyed essential services and providing the conditions for a safe and voluntary return of IDPs to their home. Through FFS, USAID is rehabilitating critical water and electrical infrastructure, as well as schools, housing, and health facilities.

Achievements to Date

  • As of March 2021, USAID has funded the rehabilitation of 128 schools, 31 primary health care clinics, 71 water treatment plants, and 28 substations.
  • USAID has rehabilitated three hospitals in Tikrit, Qayyara, and Hamdaniya.

Social Cohesion

USAID works with communities in Anbar, Basra, Erbil, and Ninewa impacted by conflict to develop locally-driven processes for identifying and resolving conflict sustainably and peacefully through inclusive dialogue and practical solutions. USAID is also providing one-to-one business support to innocent Iraqi victims of war to help them gain high-quality and sustainable sources of livelihoods through the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund. In addition, USAID is facilitating intra- and inter-community dialogue sessions in Ninewa Plain and western Ninewa to identify the drivers of social and political discord and barriers to return with the aim of achieving intercommunal agreements and pacts for greater community resilience and reconciliation.

Achievements to Date

  • Based on the success of the first year, USAID is planning on expanding the Shared Future program to Nimrod and Wana, reaching an additional 1,300 youth and 200 community leaders over the next three years.
  • Since December 2020, USAID has supported more than 150 innocent victims of war through one-to-one business support, allowing victims to establish new livelihoods.

Support to Survivors

USAID, through local Iraqi partners, seeks to reintegrate IDPs from minority communities in the Ninewa Plain and Sinjar who are survivors of severe human-rights abuses by establishing centers to provide comprehensive medical, mental health, and psychosocial services to survivors, as well as assistance with livelihood recovery and legal support. In addition, USAID supports the Smile of Hope torture treatment center in Mosul, which offers high-level mental health, psychosocial, and recovery support to severely traumatized victims of atrocities by ISIS.

Furthermore, through a joint partnership with the Archdiocese of Erbil, USAID is providing cash assistance to support IDPs from Ninewa in protracted displacement in Erbil while also offering targeted information and planning sessions to help them prepare for durable solutions for their families.

Achievements to Date

  • Three centers offering comprehensive medical, mental health, and psychosocial services, as well as livelihood recovery and legal support, have been established through USAID funding, reaching over 15,000 individuals.
  • USAID support has assisted over 440 entrepreneurs establish, expand, or recover their businesses.
  • Over 440 individuals have received housing, land, and property assistance through USAID, including help with documentation and claims processing.
  • More than 2,600 IDP households have received over $3 million in cash assistance.  

Last updated: March 24, 2021

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