Iraq – Supporting Community-based organisations (CBOs) to promote social cohesion

Qudra 2 successfully supported community-based organisations in Iraq to promote social cohesion through projects developed and implemented by local people.

Capacity development for local partners is of crucial importance for Qudra 2. The programme aims to build capacities for local civil society actors and partners, so they are enabled to implement projects that contribute to social cohesion.

We support local actors in locations (e.g., Piramagroon town, Sulaymaniyah governorate or Khurmal town in Halabja governorate in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq) where the technical component of employment creation and income generation is being implemented.

Our partner, Green Kurdistan, a local volunteer association, supports elementary schools in Piramagroon by increasing green spaces, which means an increase in the quality of the environment for more than 500 students and a profound effect on the young generations’ attitude to the natural environment.

In parallel, staff members and volunteers from the organisation participated in management training to increase their capacities and establish organisational structures that can support the implementation of the small project. The effects of this training are expected to benefit Green Kurdistan in their future work. After strengthening the operational skills, professional training was provided to equip Green Kurdistan with tools to deliver environmental education.

In coordination with the local schools and authorities, Green Kurdistan delivered environmental sessions to students and their teachers and involved the whole school in planting events. By working for a common goal, witnessing, and experiencing direct benefits of their actions, this successful greening project contributed to social cohesion in the school in a town where internally displaced people and host community members have been living together for close to a decade.

Halabja Disabled Organisation (HDO), another local partner, aims to create an all-accessible park in Khurmal town, where Qudra 2 has previously improved agricultural infrastructure to support farmers.

HDO has been capacitated in project management skills to realise their primary mission, the effective and efficient inclusion of people living with impairments. It is challenging for people living with impairments to move freely around Khurmal town. There were no recreation areas accessible to everyone before, leading directly to these groups’ social exclusion and isolation. HDO designed a park accessible for anyone living with challenges. The organisation even added raised beds to demonstrate how minor modifications to usual agriculture practices can empower and involve everyone in livelihood activities and assist them to regain control over their lives.

Alongside infrastructure development, HDO organised awareness-raising sessions, broadcasted a video and held sensitisation classes for youth to educate the young generation about the value of social inclusion.