1 year of hard work, the involvement of 4 local organisations, 30,906 Iraqi IDP beneficiaries in the Governorates of Dohuk and Erbil, including 3,000 children: these numbers summarise the “Safe Iraq” humanitarian assistance programme we have been working on since 2015 with funding by Caritas Switzerland, with a focus on the most vulnerable families effected by the Iraq crisis.
There was actually a crisis within the crisis, which we tackled with two main approaches: regular distributions of food and hygiene kits as well as provisions to face the onset of winter, as well as school kits and medicines that were not provided free by the national health system. And psychosocial assistance for children between the age of 5 and 18.
“SAFE: Emergency Response to assist Iraqi minorities at risk” was implemented with our long-standing local partners Al Mesalla, Yazidi Solidarity and Fraternity League, Yawm al Hurya and Gashboun - each drawing on their own experience and expertise in humanitarian work.
Before starting work on distributions, we went to the camps with our partners in the camps to identify the real needs of the families (108 in Erbil and 274 in Dohuk), so they could tell themselves what they needed, so we could plan for the best possible response to each problem.
Thanks to our combined efforts, between November 2014 and December 2015, 1,000 families received food kits, and we distributed 1,200 health and hygiene kits and 1,400 packs of covers, heaters and winter clothes. In just one year, 5 cycles of humanitarian distribution reached over 20,000 people.
Meanwhile the psychosocial assistance and healthcare component of the project was in development, designed to help families and in particular children. Thanks to a mobile unit, social workers and psychologists could also reach people in the informal camps, to provide healthcare to 10,650 people including 3,000 children.
A centre for psychosocial assistance was established in Shekan, under the direction of a psychologist, with a team of 3 local assistants, which organised many recreational activities especially for children, including sessions of play-therapy and coping with trauma. We also distributed more than 1,000 school kits to IDP children to help them start school.
Project Name: Safe. Emergency response programme to assist vulnerable Iraqi minorities
Project Type: Humanitarian aid distribution, psychosocial assistance
Beneficiaries: Iraqi IDP families living in informal camps
Length: November 2014 - November 2015
Project Areas: Governorates of Erbil and Dohuk - KRG - Iraq
Local Partners: Al Mesalla, Yezidi Solidarity and Fraternity League, Yawm al Hurray, Gashboun NGO
Donors: Caritas Switzerland, CEI, 8x1000 charitable wing of the Waldesian Table, private donors