Iraq’s al-Islah al-Zirai neighborhood in the city of Mosul has long suffered from government neglect and marginalization. Located on the city’s western edge, the area was among the first to fall to ISIS and its stability remains critical to Mosul’s security. However, despite the city’s liberation four years ago, al-Isla al-Zirai continues to face a chronic lack of basic services due to underfunded government departments and the inability to rehabilitate or maintain basic infrastructure. Until recently, one of the most visible signs of government neglect was a damaged street with overflowing sewage pipes, piles of garbage, and dangerous rubble. Waste, stagnant water, and raw sewage hindered children’s access to school, and blocked vehicle traffic. Residents, mukhtars, and community leaders repeatedly asked local authorities to address the issue, without success.

USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI) and grassroots partner, Abnaa al-Hadba Organization for Relief and Development (AHORD), intervened on the community’s behalf and transformed the street from a hazardous dumping ground to a local tourist attraction that now attracts residents from other Mosul neighborhoods who visit and take pictures. The rehabilitation process began with USAID/OTI and AHORD holding residential meetings with local citizens to explain the rehabilitation process. AHORD then recruited unemployed residents as day workers to further engage the community and support the local economy. Following the recruitment process, the newly-formed team installed a new sewage system, removed rubble and waste, and paved the street before conducting a beautification campaign involving street art and lighting, waste container, and tree installations. 

The repairs directly benefit the estimated 2,500 residents of al-Isla al-Zirai who are now able to safely use the street to perform their daily activities. The restoration project also received attention from multiple local and national media outlets, which encouraged the governor of Ninewa to attend the opening ceremony. One resident told USAID/OTI that the rehabilitation and beautification campaign brought the street “back to life.” This visible sign of recovery not only improves the quality of life for the neighborhood’s residents, it demonstrates that they are not forgotten and their dignity matters.


The street, called “The America Street” by residents, as it looks now after the rehabilitation process and a beautification campaign.
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