Cooperation in practice

Northern Iraq: Better living conditions for refugees and locals

Refugees in a camp for internally displaced people in the Kurdistan-Iraq region

About 3.4 million Iraqis are internally displaced, having fled the terror of the organisation calling itself Islamic State. According to UN estimates, one third of them have gone to the Iraqi Kurdistan region in northern Iraq. In addition, about 240,000 people from Syria have fled to that same region. The Kurdistan Regional Government, with assistance from the international community, is undertaking enormous efforts to meet the refugees’ needs. In the Province of Dohuk alone, 18 refugee camps for up to 50,000 people each have been set up, and there are plans for further camps.

On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is working in the camps in the Dohuk region. Acting in close cooperation with Welthungerhilfe, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and local organisations, GIZ is supporting the infrastructure development efforts of the local authorities.

For instance, five health posts have been set up in the camps. GIZ has also worked with UNICEF to build and equip seven schools. Three further schools are being built in Dohuk and Zakho. Psychosocial support and legal advice for refugees are further focal aspects of the German programmes. Community centres have been set up for this purpose in six camps.

All these activities are helping to improve the living conditions of the internally displaced people, the refugees and the local people. German Development Minister Gerd Müller made a commitment for this project vis-à-vis the Kurdistan Regional Government when he visited northern Iraq in October 2014. So far, the BMZ has provided a total of 37 million euros for this effort. Over the next two years, the successful activities under this project are to be continued and expanded.

Some examples of results so far

  • In Mossul alone the BMZ has helped to rebuild 180 schools for about 120,000 children, and to give nearly 50,000 children psychosocial support.
  • By building 16 schools in camps and host communities, additional places for lessons have been created, relieving the pressure on the schools in the host communities, which were bursting at the seams. Further training has been provided for 2,455 teachers (51 per cent of them women).
  • About 185,000 people have registered for the large variety of education and counselling programmes offered by the community centres set up by GIZ in six camps.
  • Nearly 20,000 people have received psychosocial support to help them deal with the traumatic events they have experienced.
  • In four camps basic health facilities are being delivered with the help of local partners. This means that 60,000 people in the camps have access to basic health care. More than 230,000 people have received medical treatment.
  • The drinking water supply for one million people has been improved.
  • More than 33,000 temporary jobs have been created.
  • The Ministry has helped 270,000 internally displaced persons return to their home towns and villages.

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