The peacebuilding activities have been carried out by 10 community “peace builders” trained and mentored by the University of Dohuk’s Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies. The initiative is supported by IOM, with funding from the Government of Japan.
The project is part of IOM’s integrated emergency response and community stabilization plan for displaced families, returnees, and host communities across Iraq. In addition to the social cohesion component, the Japan-funded project included the provision of health assistance, and transitional shelters for displaced families.
In cooperation with community leaders, two volunteer peace builders were selected from within each community. Following an assessment conducted by IOM Iraq and the University of Dohuk, the trained community peace builders are working in five displacement-affected and retaken communities of Mahad, Zelkan, Ain Safni, Raabia and Al-Qosh.
More than 700 community members participated in a total of 15 activities in 2017, involving some 13,000 persons. All activities were conducted in coordination with local civil society and government stakeholders.
Activities included workshops for the promotion of inter-ethnic and inter-religious dialogue, women’s empowerment and civic engagement, training for youth on the use of social media to promote social cohesion, a poetry festival, and a football tournament, among others.
Hussain Ali, one of the peace builders working in Raabia stated: “When we organized the poetry festival we expected 40 participants, but more than 120 came. We were overwhelmed by the interest and people’s enthusiasm to participate.
Following the event, participants asked for more festivals and more opportunities where people can express themselves and engage in dialogue. I am pleased to see the new connections that the event created for positive change in the community.”
An initial five-day training for the 10 peace builders took place in December 2016. A follow-up workshop was held in January and February 2017 at the University of Dohuk’s Cultural and Social Center. A “lessons learned” workshop in March explored insights and collected inputs to develop a peace-builders toolkit.
“Overall we have built our self-confidence to help our communities,” said Nifla Alqasnona, a peace builder from Al-Qosh. “We learned how to work together more effectively and how to plan initiatives including various community groups to strengthen the foundations for peace in our communities. In all the activities we hosted, the participants awareness of the culture of peace and their desire to contribute to strengthening social cohesion have increased.”
IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “Conflict and displacement, especially as currently witnessed in Mosul, deeply affect communities across the country. Supporting community-led peace building efforts is essential to helping bring communities together and strengthening their resilience. IOM Iraq is pleased to work together with local Iraqi authorities and the Government of Japan to support peace building efforts.”
H.E. Mr. Fumio Iwai, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Iraq, said, “Japan is keen on reaching out to people in need, not only IDPs and refugees but also host communities and communities in retaken areas. We spare no effort to support reconciliation processes by Iraqi people as part of Japan’s contribution to stabilization in Iraq.”
In Ninewa governorate, where the city of Mosul is located, IOM continues to provide emergency humanitarian assistance, and expand upon two emergency sites constructed by IOM to provide shelter for those fleeing Mosul; the sites already house more than 70,000 people.
More than 304,000 individuals have been displaced by Mosul operations since 17 October 2016, of which 142,000 have been displaced in the past two months. Cumulatively more than 367,000 individuals have been displaced by Mosul operations, and more than 80,000 have returned to their homes. From 25 February to 2 April, more than 189,000 individuals have been displaced from West Mosul.
The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement from Mosul operations are available at:
IOM Iraq DTM Snapshot- April 4
IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations – Factsheet – March 30
IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Corridor Analysis – April 3
For further information, please contact IOM Iraq: