Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan
Having been plunged into a series of conflicts since 2003, Iraq has been particularly affected by the fighting between the regular Iraqi army and the Kurdish Peshmerga against the Islamic state since 2014. The year 2017 was marked in particular by an intensification of the fighting to take over Mosul and other cities occupied by the Jihadist organisation (Telafar, Hawija and Shirqat) by Iraqi forces, the Kurdish army, the international coalition and a cohort of militias grouped under the name of Popular Mobilization Units. These interventions resulted in numerous civilian casualties, and the fleeing of more than one million people between October 2016 and June 2017 to a multitude of IDP camps, mainly located in the Governorate of Nineveh. The total liberation of Mosul was announced by the Iraqi Government on 9 July 2017, and the challenge of reconstruction is daunting. The severe level of destruction in Mosul and other cities that have suffered from the fighting, and the resulting lack of basic infrastructure (water, electricity, schools, markets, etc.) prevents the immediate return of the population. The security situation is alarming, in particular due to the permanence of dormant cells of the Islamic State, and the significant presence of mines and unexploded ordnance. This situation has severely hampered the return of the population and has caused them to extend their stay in IDP camps.
Iraq must now face a multitude of security and political challenges: the resurgence and abuses by factions of the jihadist group, a strong presence of a multitude of armed militias whose allegiance to the government remains fragile, all in an environment of severely precarious inter-community relations and regional instability. The strain on humanitarian resources remains serious, with more than 1.7 million people displaced and 4.2 million returnees in February 2019, a major economic crisis linked to the war effort and the destruction of productive infrastructure.
TGH was present in Iraqi Kurdistan from 1995 to 1999 in support of Kurdish refugees from Turkey, then in Baghdad until 2003 in support of internally displaced populations, and has been active in the country again since 2013. TGH worked closely with the Syrian NGO JORD (Judy Organization) to help the Syrian refugee populations in the region, and was also mobilized to respond to the new health emergency and provide decent living conditions for newly displaced Iraqi families in August 2014. In September 2015, TGH set up the distribution of food coupons to Syrian families living in the city of Daratoo. This programme, funded by the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Food Aid (CIAA), has facilitated the integration of refugee families into the host community, while contributing to the local economy, with families buying supplies from local shops.
Programmes in this sector but also in the FS&L sector have been implemented outside Kurdish territory: in October 2016, a programme supporting herders' households (distribution of animals, animal food and establishment of a mobile veterinary clinic) was launched in al-Rabia, Nineveh Governorate. In 2018, a similar programme supported livestock farmers with the creation of two mobile veterinary clinics in Tilkaif District. In 2019, using the same approach, TGH began an agricultural support programme in al-Hamdaniya District, northeast of Mosul, as part of a three-year consortium with the NGO Mercy Corps. This programme aims to aid economic recovery in this area which was heavily impacted by the conflict. It include the following aspects: animal health, support for irrigation systems and restoration of productive infrastructure.
Since 2016, TGH has developed a mobile approach on child protection with Mobile Child Protection Units, which can quickly provide emergency psychosocial assistance to children who do not have access to these services, and refer some cases to existing specialised services. From October 2016, this approach was reinforced by TGH's immediate response to IDPs arriving in camps in Mosul (Khazer, Nimrud and Salamiyah 1 and 2). To accompany this, a new programme, funded by IHF, began in February 2019 in the Balad District, Salah al-Din Governorate, 100 km north of Baghdad, in partnership with the Iraqi NGO Justice Centre, which provides legal assistance.
Thanks to its solid and innovative approach in this field, TGH has become one of the leading NGOs in the child protection sector in Iraq, integrating the Alliance for the Protection of Children into humanitarian action in 2019. The recognition of TGH’s expertise is also illustrated by the current partnership between TGH and UNHCR for capacity building of the Kurdish Ministry of Social Affairs (MoLSA). The first programme was carried out in 2018 in Iraqi Kurdistan, the second uses the same approach in Kurdistan and extends it on the federal side to the Nineveh and Baghdad Governorates. The Iraqi NGO Legal Clinic Network will also benefit from the strengthening of its technical expertise in child protection.