Iraq: Restoring livelihoods and social protection structures in a country shattered by conflict
Iraq's four-year internal war may now be over but the country is still tormented by conflict and instability. Decades of fighting and sanctions has resulted in an acute humanitarian crisis - some eight million people remain in urgent need of assistance.
The most vulnerable are those who were internally displaced during the war against the Islamic State (IS) - the majority of whom live in crowded camps and informal settlements in the north of the country. Despite government plans to see all IDP's return home by the end of 2020, forced and premature departures have posed new threats - and put further strain on available resources.
Children are exposed to some of the greatest risks including forced recruitment into armed groups and gender-based violence. Some 45,000 children uprooted inside Iraq do not have birth certificates that prove their legal identity, robbing them of their basic rights. The physical and emotional scars of the Yazidi community - a religious minority purged by IS as part of a brutal genocide - run deep. Hundreds of thousands are still displaced and living in cruel conditions.
Iraq has a population of 42.9 million people
Around 7 million people are living below the poverty line
In 2022 23,675 people participated in our programmes
What we do in Iraq
Dorcas works in faraway regions across Iraq to provide emergency material and livelihoods assistance to vulnerable groups. We also work one-to-one with communities to rebuild trust and foster social cohesion - all with the aim to reduce poverty, create stability and protect people from harm.
We provide individuals and households with food cash and vouchers - as well as seeds, chickens and farming tools so that they can grow their own food for the next season. Our Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes repair vital infrastructure and improve hygiene behaviours in remote regions.
We provide free legal support to vulnerable people who cannot prove their identity. This includes undocumented children and youth born under IS rule - an entire generation ready to reclaim their rights - as well as victims of SGBV and returnees whose property (house and land) documentation has been destroyed.
We work closely with vulnerable families and communities to develop protection structures, raising awareness of the specific needs and dangers faced by marginalised groups. Our Back to School campaign addressed the high number of out-of-school children in Iraq through creative workshops with children and parents. The 2018 campaign saw enrolment in schools in Wana increase by 50 per cent.
We create dialogues and set up training sessions to help communities rebuild trust and reject stigmatisation. Our accelerated learning programmes provide non-formal education opportunities for adults and youth who have missed out on vital years of schooling - contributing to economic prosperity, from the ground up, and improved psychosocial wellbeing.
WASH Nadia's Initiative - The Pursuit of Justice
"Our houses, our families, our traditions, our people, our dreams - they were all destroyed." Nadia Murad
When the Islamic State (IS) attacked her homeland in Sinjar in 2014, Nadia Murad's life turned upside down. They had come to ethnically cleanse Iraq of all Yazidis. The systematic campaign that ensued, marked by mass killings and forced sexual slavery, put this ancient community at the centre of international attention. Thousands of men and older women including Nadia's mother and six brothers were executed - on the same land where they had lived peacefully for centuries.
Since Nadia's escape from captivity, she has made it her mission to raise awareness of IS and its genocidal campaign against the Yazidi people. Today, a Noble Peace Prize Laureate and the UN's first ever Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Victims of Human Trafficking, Nadia has become a powerful advocate for women in war and survivors of sexual violence.
Meet our Country Director...
Wisam Obayes - Country Director Iraq
"After 20 years of travelling through the Middle East, I have returned home. It's time to help my people directly. I am particularly interested in how Dorcas reaches areas where no other help exists - and the extra mile that the organisation goes to make a tangible contribution and bring about long-term change. A slow and stable approach is important - one that focuses on the hidden psychological wounds that many people are nursing and on justice and healing. If we are going to send vulnerable refugees home then we must provide the support to go with it. The next generation brings hope - just look at the youth protests across Iraq. We need to listen and raise their voices."
News and projects
Strategic Partners and Donors
- World VIsion
- Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Terre des Hommes
- Dutch Relief Alliance
- Nadia's Initiative
- PerspActive Iraq