Iraq: Education and practical abilities

Iraq: Education and practical abilities

Children and youth are among the most vulnerable, and hence also the most severely affected in armed conflicts. Due to the protracted conflict, approximately 3.2 million school-aged Iraqi children out of school. Out-of-school children stand a far greater risk of engagement in child labour, recruitment by armed groups, radicalisation, or in the case of girls, gender-based violence and early marriage. This is why education and psycho-social support remain our top priority in Iraq.

Our education programming aims to address the main reasons for low school attendance, such as insufficient teaching capacities in terms of staff numbers and qualifications or the financial burden put on students’ families who cannot afford to pay for school supplies or transportation. This is the reason why we repair destroyed schools, which positively impacted the lives of over 11,160 boys and girls in 2020. We also provide schools with equipment such as new teaching materials, teaching supplies for teachers and students as well as air-conditioning and heating for the temperamental Iraqi climate. We provide financial incentives to community-based volunteers that are helping students and train teachers and facilitators to provide their students with psycho-social support in order to help them better cope with the horrors of war. We also organise tutoring for children who missed school due to the conflict.

In 2020, we rehabilitated 20 schools and constructed 2 completely from scratch – 12 were fully equipped with solar panel systems to combat severe energy needs in these more remote villages. Our focus moving forward is to continue down this path of healthy, sustainable learning environments for all children.

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Ongoing aidORPast aid programmes

Provision of integrated services in support of vulnerable secondary displaced and returnees in Federal Iraq

Provision of integrated services in support of vulnerable secondary displaced and returnees in Federal Iraq

Thanks to funds from United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), in partnership with Intersos and local NGOs Sorouh for Sustainable Development Foundation (SSDF) and Public Aid Organization (PAO), PIN is providing educators in four districts across Nineveh and Salah Al Din with the tools and techniques they need to implement the most successful distance learning curriculum possible, despite the many challenges they face. PIN aims to train 360 teachers in 36 schools, helping 7920 students continue their classes.
 
Increasing equal education opportunities to children in Hawija

Increasing equal education opportunities to children in Hawija

Thanks to the UNICEF fund Education Cannot Wait, and in partnership with Save the Children (SC), the Norweigan Refugee Council (NRC), and Public Aid Organization (PAO), PIN is working in the areas of education, WASH, and child protection, aiming to impact 5000 children. Our focus is on providing distance learning materials to children affected by COVID-19-related school closures, including new approaches, protocols, non-formal education (PSS) at home, self-learning material distribution, and creative hygiene promotion messaging.
        
 
School rehabilitation and psychosocial support

School rehabilitation and psychosocial support

To address the most acute education needs, our projects always build on the latest cluster recommendations and sectorial guidelines, needs assessments and most importantly, direct consultations with affected communities. Hence, our activities have predominantly focused on school and sanitary facilities rehabilitation, classroom extensions, non-formal education activities and psychosocial support, school staff capacity-building and managerial support, teachers training, or establishment of parent-teacher associations, among others.

Our education projects strive to increase children’s school attendance by reconstructing or rehabilitating school buildings and their sanitary facilities, initiating back-to-school campaigns, and distributing school equipment, supplies, and teaching aids and materials. At the same time, we train teachers to improve their pedagogical skills and thereby increase the quality of teaching. We also organise special non-formal education activities including remedial classes for children who dropped out of school for prolonged periods, and help establish parent-teacher associations to encourage their involvement in school structures. Equally, we train teachers and education personnel to identify and treat children with post-traumatic disorders caused by the military conflict as such children require a special and sensitive approach to work towards healthy emotional and intellectual development. As a result, we successfully reached over 50,000 boys and girls in ensuring their access to quality learning and psychosocial assistance only in 2019. This year, we finalized the construction of two new schools and equipped them, as well as rehabilitated eight other schools with solar panels to ensure a more sustainable learning environment.
 
Improving Access to Education for Vulnerable Children Returning to Conflict-Affected Areas of Iraq

Improving Access to Education for Vulnerable Children Returning to Conflict-Affected Areas of Iraq

In partnership with local association Sorough for Sustainable Development Foundation (SSDF), PIN rehabilitated 14 schools, including WASH infrastructure and winterization preparation. We provided psycho-social, recreational, and learning activities to 6800 children as well as support educators with psycho-social support and Teaching in Crisis Context trainings.
Nineveh Return Programme

Nineveh Return Programme

In an effort to facilitate the safe return of children to Nineveh, a governorate previously controlled by the self-proclaimed “Islamic State”, PIN, in partnership with Malteser International, supported over 10,000 children with psycho-social support (PSS) activities, hygiene kids, and the construction or rehabilitation of school infrastructure. During the time of COVID-19, 450 children were additionally supported with PIN-created distance learning and PSS mechanisms. Over 240 educators were supported with supply kits and Teach in Crisis Context trainings, and 22 parent-teacher associations (PTA) were established.
With our wider programming working to emphasise sustainability and mitigating the effects of climate change, under this programme PIN and Malteser International installed 12 solar panel systems on top of schools in the target location. We provided basic technical and environmental awareness training to school staff.
 
Training and Support of Civil Society

Training and Support of Civil Society

People in Need teaches non-governmental organisations and local governments in southern and northern provinces of Iraq to improve their service to public affairs and also primarily to the people they represent. Thanks to small grants and having undergone training in project planning, dozens of local initiatives every year are able to try how to provide targeted, effective and concrete help to the inhabitants of their region. The organisations then for instance improve urban infrastructure, help repair schools, raise the quality of tuition or they target marginalised groups such as widows or the handicapped, the numbers of whom after the war are higher than the state or the family environment is capable of supporting sufficiently. We also attempt as far as possible    to draw local administrative authorities into participation, so that through the programmes they may learn of the main problems that they themselves should actively be addressing.

In the spring of 2012, in cooperation with Iraqi filmmakers and activists, the first year of the human rights films festival Baghdad Eye was held, aimed at activating civil society and raising awareness in the government, journalists, students and school teachers of fundamental human rights. The festival was supported by the Czech human rights documentary film festival, One World, and so it borrowed the format of after-screening panel discussions and debates, intended to motivate the Iraqi people to formulate and present their own opinions and towards concrete activities contributing towards change. The main festival was held in Baghdad, with regional “echoes” in locations such as Basra and Fallujah.   

People in Need in Iraq also implements its domestic programme One World at Schools, where films and participative approaches are used during lesson time. PIN has trained teachers and young volunteers who give lessons using tuition film sets, helping young people form opinions and organise leisure time voluntary student groups. They then try  to change any problematic areas or the environment of schools with the help of local organisations supported by People in Need’s small grants.

How else we help