Strengthening the Resilience of Syrian Women and Girls and Host Communities in Iraq

Period: January 2018 - January 2021

Donor: European Union

Project Goal: Strengthening the Resilience of Syrian Women and girls in host communities in Iraq, Jordan and Turkey. An Integrated program that targets both displaced Syrian Women and Girls and host-country nationals across Iraq, Jordan and Turkey


UN Women’s regional project “Strengthening the Resilience of Syrian Women and Girls and Host Communities in Iraq, Jordan and Turkey” works to address the call of the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) to the Syrian Crisis to in involve women in crisis prevention, conflict management, peace building and to help protect women from gender-based violence, especially sexual abuse.

Mainly funded by the EU, the project aims to develop sustainable employment opportunities for 1,000 refugee women and Iraqi nationals through using short-term cash and employment interventions, including cash-for-work as a pathway to asset replenishment and entry into the labour market and more sustainable livelihoods.

The project seeks to support sustainable employment opportunities through a menu of options to those graduating from the cash-for-work intervention.

Given the importance of decent work for food security and resilience, cooperation with the Government of Iraq on monitoring women’s employment opportunities for refugees and host nationals helped to reinforce these efforts.

Recognising the relationship between violence against women, gender equality and women’s employment, the programme managed to reach 10,500 women by supporting safe spaces offering essential services for preventing and responding to GBV in areas where employment opportunities were created. While this recognised the need to offer services to victims who have survived (or were at risk of) violence against women, services did not work to address the acceptance of violence.

The element of sustainability focuses on institutionalized capacity development of government officials, law enforcement and service providers in Iraq. To this end, the programme aims to develop the capacity of gender units at the related ministries in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq through activities that were conducted in cooperation with the Kurdistan High Council of Women Affairs to improve the capacities of governmental staff for better understanding of women’s rights and gender equality.

The activities also include gender-responsive budgeting trainings with the Ministries of Health, Education and Labour and Social Affairs. The programme aims to deliver capacity development training for shelter staff and TOT training for women officers. Finally, the programme also links with national justice actors to support them in holding alleged perpetrators to account for violence against women.

The programme works to engage men as partners, champions and advocates for women’s increased empowerment, including their engagement in the labour market. It thus focuses on supporting the economic empowerment and resilience of women (refugee, displaced and host-country nationals) and to contribute to the resilience of local economies, while making it possible for women to attain more equitable relationships, free from violence. It also aimed to ensure that women and girls are engaged in promoting social cohesion and co-existence in their communities.