Promoting durable solutions in Iraq’s conflict-affected communitiesThe Danish Refugee Council have supported displaced Iraqis with life-skills training and cash for work opportunities, as well as community initiatives that aim to foster better relations among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and host community members in Iraq's eastern Diyala Governorate. The projects have been supported with financing from the Danish Development Cooperation (Danida).
These activities have also helped local authorities complete municipality projects that have suffered neglect under a countrywide financial crisis.
One DRC-led activity involved cleaning and painting the main roads inside Baquba – Diyala’s capital city – as a means of beautifying the town and fostering social cohesion by having host community members and IDPs participate in the cash for work opportunity and complete a project together.
“The cash for work project has really helped us rehabilitate these neglected streets”, said Bassam Ismael, Director of the Baquba Utility Office, who facilitated the activity.
Another group of participants also worked on cleaning the Khresan Channel, a main waterway that reaches several communities, orchards and farms in and around Baquba.
Ala’a, an engineer and director of a water station in Baquba, explained that water levels in the channel were very low due to waste and weeds. “Now, the level is high enough for all the water pumps to work properly”, he said.
One cash-for-work project specifically engaged women members of the local IDP and host communities to rehabilitate a public park used primarily by school children in central Baquba. Women participants removed the overgrown weeds and planted trees in the park, which was immediately used for children’s extra-curricular activities.
The activities attracted a local farm owner who later on employed two of the groups to clean his land.
“Due to the financial crisis affecting Iraq, the local government in Diyala cannot afford to employ enough labourers to clean the main streets,” said Bassam, who hopes that future projects similar to these can support the local government to improve and rehabilitate areas in Iraq.
Working in Iraq since 2003 and now across 11 governorates, DRC’s livelihood activities are designed to both promote income-generation and social cohesion within communities who may experience tension due to local displacement dynamics.