2003 - 2006
WHY USAID/OTI WAS IN IRAQ
USAID/OTI’s Iraq program, the Iraq Transition Initiative (ITI), began in 2003 to support critical activities to build and sustain Iraqi confidence in the development of a participatory, stable and democratic Iraq. Working closely with the USAID Mission and U.S. Embassy, ITI sought to increase public support for the interim and transitional governments.
USAID/OTI'S ROLE IN IRAQ
ITI focused on areas crucial to the development of Iraqi democracy, such as civic education, civil society development, media, women's participation, good governance, conflict mitigation, human rights and transitional justice. The program’s four primary objectives were to:
- Increase citizen participation in social, political and economic life;
- Enhance capacity of local and national governments;
- Prevent, manage, mitigate and resolve conflict; and
- Encourage respect for human rights and foster peace and reconciliation.
- Civil society: ITI funded activities that supported civil society development, civic education and media outreach to expand citizen understanding of and participation in the establishment of Iraqi institutions. Groups targeted for ITI assistance included women’s and youth groups, professional associations and human rights organizations.
- Good governance/transparency: ITI worked to expand the capacity of the new Iraqi government at all levels by enhancing official skills, improving communications between political officials and constituents, developing positive links between local officials and national authorities, and increasing accountability for government decisions and processes. By participating in ITI-sponsored workshops, conferences, opinion polls and town meetings, Iraqis had an opportunity to develop practical expectations for the new Iraqi government and express those views in a meaningful way.
- Conflict mitigation: ITI focused its small grant activities in potential conflict areas using participatory methods to manage and mitigate sources of tension. For example, ITI worked closely with the U.S. Army First Cavalry Division and 3rd Infantry Division in priority areas of Baghdad. ITI grants focused on neighborhood clean-up projects that provided temporary employment to local residents.
- Human rights and transitional justice: ITI supported a wide range of activities related to human rights and transitional justice. ITI funded nascent human rights organizations and created a national network of these organizations to take the lead on human rights advocacy in Iraq. ITI’s activities increased the capacity of the Ministry of Human Rights and re-established trust in Iraqi institutions that enforced the rights of the people.