To promote dialogue between civil society, local authorities and institutions in Iraq and Italy. To offer social services and meeting places to Iraqi youth, particularly young members of ethnic minorities: Yezidi, Kakai, Shabak and Turkman. To build Youth Centres together, where cultural differences can be celebrated as part of the wealth of Iraqi society, which was once a mosaic of civilisations, cultures and religions.
These are the goals of the "Youth spring Across Ethnicities: A new social alliance to empower youth of minorities in North Iraq and KRG" project, launched in 2014 with funding from the European Union, CEI, Waldensian Table - charitable tax credit wing of the independent Province of Bolzano, and implemented in partnership with ARCI Tuscany.
The project was designed before Daesh occupied Mosul and destroyed much of the Ninive Plain. The idea was to strengthen policies for political and gender equality and youth integration, and was intended to be rolled out in 5 different areas: Mosul, Bashiqa, Qaraqosh, Sinjar e Khabat. Border areas between Iraqi Kurdistan and Northern Iraq, contested between respective governments and source of continuing tension, these areas became the centre of Daesh violence in the summer of 2014.
We kept working with the same communities, even though they were forced to flees and relocate elsewhere. We relocated with them and now the project has resulting in the creation of 4 Youth Centres in Erbil, Dohuk, Sulaymaniyah and Zummar.
There already host plenty of initiatives, with many more to come: from theatre courses to street art (with the "No fear" project), as well as courses in drawing cartoons with Claudio Calia, these Youth Centres are already a point of reference for young people, a place which provides space which they are free to use as they see fit. Projects are thought up, planned and implemented by the young people themselves, in collaboration with local institutions.
Alongside these activities, there are also training opportunities, thanks to the collaboration of social workers and local experts. Key issues include human rights, peacebuilding (history, theory and practice of non-violent conflict resolution), peace training, the use of art as a way to promote peace. There is also a focus on the promotion of youth activism: non-violent action, use of media and social networks, freedom of thinking, speech and association. In addition, frequent cultural exchanges with Italy are foreseen.
This work will continue for many years, with the goal of making the Youth Centres places of knowledge and exchange for the promotion of tolerance and integration between the different Iraq’s linguistic and religious groups.
Project Name: Youth Spring Across Ethnicities: a new social alliance to empower youth of minorities in North Iraq and KRG
Project Type: Dialogue and Social cohesion
Beneficiaries: Iraqi IDPs and hosting communities
Length: January 2014 – February 2017
Project areas: Erbil and Dohuk Governatorate - KRG, Iraq
Partners: Arci Tuscany
Donor: European Union, CEI, ‘Waldensian Table’ - charitable tax credit wing of the independent Province of Bolzano