Since 2003, Iraq has been facing a succession of crises and conflicts that have severely affected its population. Since 2014 and the emergence of the Islamic State in the northern and western zones, the security situation has deteriorated. The population had to find refuge in internal displaced personss camps (IDPs camps), flee abroad, or live for several years under the occupation of the group. In 2018, despite the proclamation of the Iraqi State's victory over Daesh after violent fighting, attacks by the EI and responses by the army and the international coalition remained frequent.
Despite several million potential returnees, insecurity, lack of infrastructure and deteriorated living conditions are prolonging the exile of displaced populations. At the end of 2018, 1.8 million Iraqi displaced persons were still living in the camps, mainly in the Governorate of Nineveh, near Mosul, as well as in urban areas in the Iraqi Kurdistan region¹.
Social and community balance are weakened with a predominantly Shia population and a Sunni minority often perceived as sympathetic to the Islamic State. To return to a sustainable health and social situation, displaced persons should go back home. However, the context is unfavourable: despite the advance of the coalition front and the recovery of the entire occupied territory of the Islamic State, the activism of many Daesh’s dormant cells continues to maintain instability in some areas. Elsewhere, former conflict areas remain precarious: mined land, destroyed buildings, lack of infrastructure and basic public services.
In this context, access to formal education for children is very limited. Distance, problems with legal documentation, the fragility of the educational body or high registration fees are all factors in absenteeism. In 2018, 41% of children affected by the conflict had little or no access to educational services². Many have been out of school for four years or more, and reintegration into the school system is no longer an option for them. This population, which is subject to social marginalisation, might become a "lost generation" and is particularly exposed to various risks (child labour, early marriage, abuse, etc.). Many need help to cope with the situations they have faced.
A first emergency programme for child protection was implemented by TGH in October 2016 in the Khazer 1 camp near Mosul. Other similar programmes have extended the focus to children affected by the conflict. In 2018, in Nimrud, Salamiyah 1 & 2, and Khazer M1 camps, 4 404 children at risk benefited from protection services and 861 unaccompanied minors benefited from alternative emergency care services.
With the creation of a specific child protection unit, TGH provides a quality emergency psychosocial support service. By the end of 2018, 10 000 children from the four camps had benefited from these services.
TGH also coordinates child protection activities at national level. The association has played a key role in the development of various child protection guidelines in both Iraqi Kurdistan and federal Iraq, as well as in the development of guidelines for the implementation and use of the Child Protection Information Management System (CPIMS+). This system will facilitate the confidential and secure management of child protection related data for both the government and NGOs.
TGH is developing integrated child protection, education and livelihood programmes in the sub-district of Bashiqa and in Mosul. By training young people in hairdressing, sewing and mobile phone repair, and by accompanying these training courses with internships in the workplace, these actions help young people to be integrated socially and economically into the community. This action is crucial, since these young people have been out of the education system for several years. Indeed, displacement situation or the Daesh’s school imposed programme have occur a deep low rate of school attendance among Iraqi conflict affected youth.
TGH provides capacity building and mentoring to officers of the Iraqi Kurdistan Directorate of Social Affairs (DoSA) in Duhok, Erbil, and Sulaymaniyah. 667 coaching sessions conducted with 49 employees in 2018 significantly improved child protection case management practices. Training on the basics of child protection was organised in three governorates for authorities, local and international NGOs, community members, mukhtars (local elected officials), community leaders and various committee members (154 men and 73 women).
The Iraq/Kurdistan TGH’s mission has also implemented a food security and livelihoods programme in 2018, which provided veterinary services to farmers. Two mobile veterinary clinics treated 48,000 animals from 926 households in 83 villages for external and internal parasites, respiratory tract infections, foot and mouth disease and mineral and vitamin deficiencies. The decapitalisation of livestock has been stopped, and the improvement in animal health has increased production (especially the production of dairy products).
¹International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
² Compilation of data from the MCNA and the Ministry of Education