An opportunity for Adama to pave the way for peace in Iraq
Adama* is 23 years-old and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Management and Economics. She was born and lives in Salah Al-Din governorate in Tikrit district. This is Adama’s story:
After I graduated from college, I seldom left the house and lived in isolation. I did not engage with society and had little knowledge of what was happening beyond the four walls of my home. Staying at home had a large impact on my psychological state, and I frequently blamed myself for being neglectful to myself and my community. Despite working hard and earning my degree I never benefited or used my education outside the home. Part of the reason why I stayed home was my family's control of my life and their beliefs that women should be accompanied by a male relative when outside the home, so they did not allow me to leave the house on my own or engage with the community. Out of the blue my whole life changed when I received a call one day from the coordinator of the Information Centre for Research and Development. I was asked to join the women's team in the Iraqi Women's Project for Peace and Good Governance, which is supported by the UNWomen and funded by the Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund. I approached my parents to persuade them to allow me to join the project team. They initially refused but agreed after learning that the project was run and managed by women. Being permitted to join the project was a significant step in my life. I have new goals, which I am striving to achieve. I am learning about feminism and equality and our rights as women, and I can talk about the importance of women’s contribution and roles in furthering the development of our country. Being involved with this vital work helped to open my mind and enabled me break out of the closed environment in which I was living after graduation. It turned me into a very different person, and I now feel full of vitality and ideas of how we can move things forward. This is all thanks to the training opportunities and workshops supported by the project which provided me with knowledge. I also became much more aware of my own potential which I am continuously trying to develop, and I am constantly seeking way to try and look at issues which affect women’s lives and find solutions. I very much want to share my knowledge and skills with other women youth and elders in my city.
I was so fortunate with the opportunities that were presented to me when I was able to meet women from different governorates and learned about their customs, traditions, and cultures. I managed to meet civil society activists from my own city, and this began my journey to critical thinking. I never thought that I could change my family's or friends' mindset, but I told my friends and family about the Iraqi Women's Project for Peace and Good Governance and its objectives, and I am now permitted to go to workshops outside the province on my own.
This project that changed my life provided me with new skills; I can now analyse and map conflict among parties and identify the cause of the conflict. My ability to communicate with others has improved and I learned the concept and mechanisms of conflict’s early warning, as well as how to identify its indicators in my city. I also learned how to effectively communicate and negotiate, and the purpose of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
When my parents witnessed my learning from the project and realised that the intentions of the people who managed the courses were interested in peace and settling conflict, their mindset also changed and they became fans of mine, turning from opponents to supporters.
* Name changed to protect the identity of the woman