In response to the appalling humanitarian crisis, which has forced millions to flee their homes, mostly women and children, UN Women has been joining forces with sister agencies to assist refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) providing protection, GBV and legal services, cash for work and livelihoods support and setting up income generation projects covering 16 over 19 governorates. We have reached over 17,535 beneficiaries with humanitarian services and about 2000 with sustainable employment.
UN Women has developed a unique model to respond to the urgent needs of Syrian refugee as well as displaced and host community women and girls in and beyond the camp settings in Iraq: The women safe center. The women safe center model has evolved under UN Women’s regional programme “Strengthening the Resilience of Syrian Women and Girls and Host Communities in Iraq, Jordan and Turkey”, funded by the European Union Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis (the EU Madad Fund). It was further supported by another UN Women project, the “Women’s Leadership, Empowerment, Access and Protection in Crisis Response (LEAP) in Jordan, Egypt and Iraq” funded by the Japanese government.
The women safe centers model has been developed to achieve the following goals:
- To constitute a platform for promoting stability and peaceful co-existence through dialogue and peacebuilding initiatives in collaboration with women’s organizations and women leadership committees.
- To support refugee, displaced and local community women and gender-responsive, resilience-based girls through productive and financial assets and skills, facilitating graduation from short-term interventions to longer-term employment opportunities by upskilling their occupation capacities and financial support to establish their own businesses.
- To be a safe space for women and girl survivors of violence and provide the social, psychological and legal support to them and to familiarize them with their rights.
The women safe center aims to build women’s resilience and empowerment through access to multi-sectoral services. UN Women has established seven such centers: one in Basirma camp for Syrian refugees in Erbil governorate, one in Laylan camp for Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Kirkuk, and one in each of the Baghdad, Al-Anbar, Mosul, Salaheddin and Duhok governorates. This UN Women programme has been developed based on consultations with multiple stakeholders and with buy-in from key ministries in Iraq. The element of sustainability is embedded within the programme activities, as it focuses on integrating gender into national development plans (Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan and the Iraq National Development Plan (INAP) 2018-2022) as well as on institutionalizing capacity development of government officials, law enforcement and service providers in Iraq.
UN Women is continuously increasing the capacity for learning, economic possibilities, and the expansion of centers in and beyond the camp setting. UN Women is extending the women centre model of resilience and empowerment services to host communities, adhering to the needs of both refugee and vulnerable Iraqi women.