The Government of Norway is to fund two Islamic Relief (IR) projects as part of its drive to support “women, peace and security”.
The new projects – Schools Extension in Baghdad and Promoting Gender Based Violence Prevention and Response in Iraq - are both Iraq-based and will be implemented within the next few months.
“I am very excited that the Norwegian Government has chosen Islamic Relief to provide necessary support for Iraqis in need. With so many Iraqis internally displaced and a shortage of schools, plus the war and its civil strife leading to an increase in Gender Based Violence, this support comes at the right time and will hopefully just be the first of further cooperation,” said IR’s Regional Programme Coordinator for Iraq, Rianne ten Veen.
The school extension project will involve the rehabilitation of facilities at three schools in an area which has received a considerable number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) since 2006, placing significant constraints on already limited resources.
Many of these IDPs are children and young people and in response IR has proposed a number of initiatives, including: the building and equipping of 15 additional classrooms and the rehabilitation of three school buildings, focusing on water and sanitation facilities. The project aims to increase retention of pupils - especially female students – and to improve pupils' knowledge about good hygiene in a bid to reduce illness and disease.
"The Ministry attaches great importance to the idea that children are given the opportunity of education. Experience from other conflicts and from Iraq draws attention to the important role that education plays in the overall protection of children. Education is an important force for reconstruction and reconciliation when peace has been achieved," the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a letter to IR.
"Schools not only provide children with protection but also skills and knowledge to reduce poverty and give children hope for a better future,” the letter continued.
The Gender Based Violence (GBV) project aims to promote prevention of GVB among university students in the Baghdad and Erbil governorates. This will be achieved through a number of capacity building activities including a “training of trainers” workshop, the establishment of peer education groups and the distribution of printed materials.
The Ministry informed IR that it “recognises the pressing need to address the issue of Gender Based Violence and other gender inequality issues in Iraq” and says that it believes IR’s project will make an important contribution.
The grants are being made for a period of twelve months and it is hoped that they represent the start of an on-going relationship with the Norwegian Government and that further projects will receive funding.
For more information on IR’s work in Iraq click here.