WPHF is channeling strategic and urgent financing for local civil society organizations in Iraq to increase women’s and girls’ participation in conflict-prevention efforts and enhance the inclusiveness and gender-responsiveness of humanitarian action and crisis response.
In Iraq, WPHF is filling critical funding gaps for grassroots organizations working to support women’s peacebuilding efforts and humanitarian action, end sexual and gender-based violence, and protect human rights in conflict settings.
WPHF is also strengthening the capacity of women’s rights groups and other local civil society organizations working to counter and prevent violent extremism across the country.
WPHF has supported 20 projects implemented by 30 women-led and women’s rights civil society organizations across three main WPHF outcome areas:
Enabling Environment for WPS
- Al-Taqwa Association for Women and Children Rights — together with Anhur, Women Foundation for Development, Awan Organization and Women’s Rights Center in Al-Muthana — on a project that raises awareness of the local challenges of the implementation of the WPS Agenda and supports the participation of women and minority civil society organizations in the local implementation of UNSCR 1325.
- Al-Weyam Organization for Human Rights Defending on a project that engages women in Iraqi Ministries and increases their knowledge of gender issues and UNSCR 1325 to enhance their ability to implement the second Iraqi 1325 NAP.
- Sawtuha Network for Human Rights Defenders on a project that identifies key women’s issues and challenges in six Iraqi governorates and advocates for these issues to be addressed at both local and national levels. Through this advocacy, Sawtuha also aims to increase the public awareness of WPS and UNSCR 1325.
- Accepting Others Organization (AOO) — together with Safe Organization for Developing Society, Investigator Organization for the Rule of Law in Erbil and Independent Media — on a project that strengthens the capacity of women activists to monitor the implementation of NAP 1325 through the creation of an effective mechanism for their protection and safety. The project also emphasizes the role of governments in protecting and equipping these women with knowledge and skills on NAP1325 and raising community awareness of social patriarchal norms.
- Iraqi Al Firdaws Society (IFS) on a project that (i) addresses the lack of empirical quantitative and qualitative data on youth and extremism across the Basra Governorate from a peacebuilding and gender perspective; (ii) identifies the social roots of youth’s engagement in violent extremism and disenfranchisement; and (iii) highlights the causes of gender discrimination and gender-based violence.
- Bent Al-Rafadayen Organization (BROB) on a project that localizes all WPS commitments in four Iraqi governorates through evidence-based advocacy and technical support. This project seeks to empower community actors and increase their understanding of local relevant accountability frameworks that meet emerging threats and challenges, with a focus on violent extremism.
- Bustan Association for Children and Adult Protection — together with Iraqi Al-Firdaws Society, Sports Spirit Organization, and Orchard Foundation for Human Apeal — on a project that prevents violent extremism and increases women’s participation in peace processes across five ISIS-impacted Iraqi provinces (Dyalah, Kirkuk, Salah Al Din, Ninewa, Anbar).
- Asuda Organization for Combatting Violence Against Women — together with Azmoon Organization and Judal Organization — on a project that (i) increases Iraqi authorities’ awareness of their key role in implementing UNSCR 1325 through evidence-based advocacy; (ii) supports government figures to develop effective local accountability frameworks; and (iii) builds local NGOs capacities on UNSCR 1325.
- Baghdad Women’s Association (BWA) — together with Alliance 1325 — on a project that enhances the accountability and monitoring of the Federal and Kurdistan Governments in implementing the second Iraqi National Action Plan (INAP) for UNSCR 1325. The project also provided evidence-based advocacy to encourage both governments to invest the required financial and human resources for optimal implementation of the INAP.
- Sawa Organization for Human Rights on a project that aims to train women, women’s organizations, and governmental actors on conflict-prevention efforts, raising awareness of their peacebuilding role in their communities.
- Ayadi Alsalam for Relief and Development (AARD) on a project that addresses the risk of conflict escalation and the disenfranchisement of women in Mosul by educating people on the importance of women’s participation in conflict prevention, as well as by supporting existing women’s peacebuilding groups and creating new ones.
- Dak Organization for Yazidi Women Development — together with Rainbow Organization — on a project that aims to build a more peaceful and gender-equal society in northern Iraq by advocating for women participation in conflict resolution and decision making. The project also seems to create groups of women from different areas in Sinjar and train them in facilitation and mediation capacities.
- Women’s Empowerment for Peacebuilding Organization (WEPO) on a project that engages women’s CSOs, Iraqi political parties, religious and ethnic groups to increase women’s participation in conflict and peacebuilding efforts by forming women coalitions and building their knowledge of UNSCR 1325.
- Sewan Women’s Empowerment Organization on a project aimed at building an early-warning network of around 200 women and training them to oversee risk assessments, identify drivers of conflicts, and come up with concrete ways of preventing tensions. The project also engages religious leaders in preventing violent extremism and diffusing ethnic tensions between communities.
- Iraq Minorities Council (IMC) — together with Awan Organization for Women’s Rights in Iraq — on a project that trains women’s organizations in conflict prevention and crisis response through traditional and social media campaigns, including on women’s contribution to preventing violent extremism and building peace.
- Iraq Women Journalist Forum (IWJF) on a project aimed at training women journalists and conducting awareness-raising campaigns on WPS issues in the media, as well as teaching local women’s organizations how to establish early-warning systems and link them to national stakeholders.
- Voice of Older People and Families (VOP-FAM) — together with Bishkoreen NGO for Women and Childcare — on a project that aims to establish a women peacebuilding and early warning system. The project trained 300 women on early warning systems and 40 women to become Ambassadors for Peace, raising awareness of 5,000 women on the role of women in peacebuilding.
Humanitarian & Crisis Response
- Iraq Institution for development (IID) — together with ZOA International — on a project that empowers women to launch peacebuilding initiatives within their communities and create community groups — including men, women and children — for the prevention of violent extremism.
- Iraqi Organization for Women and Future (IOWAF) on a project that aims to empower women — including young women, recent graduates, and unemployed women-headed households — by increasing their livelihood opportunities and providing legal and psychosocial support to survivors of violence.
Decades of armed conflicts and violence, topped with the neighboring Syrian Crisis and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, have had profound impacts on the political, social, and economic context of Iraq, a country that continues to be marked by instability, insecurity, aggravated poverty, and volatility.
Against this background, women’s rights, well-being, and representation have rapidly deteriorated in recent years. Violence against women continues to be predominant in the country, while internally-displaced women and girls remain particularly vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence — including early and forced marriage and kidnappings — and lack access to basic needs.
The adoption of the first Iraqi National Action Plan (NAP) on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 was a significant step towards protecting women and enabling their meaningful participation in peacebuilding and conflict resolution efforts. Yet, the little political will, restricted financial support, and lack of local ownership obstructed its expected impacts. Nevertheless, after several months of advocacy and collaboration led by women machineries and with the support UN Women, a second Iraqi NAP was adopted in December 2020.
Women’s engagement and participation in combating and preventing violent extremism is one of the most critical components of the WPS agenda in Iraq. As ISIL’s influence was growing across the country, an increasing number of women and girls from diverse religious and ethnic became targets of sexual violence, with the group establishing a pattern of sexual slavery, abduction, and human trafficking. Following the group’s defeat, the survivors have continued to face marginalization, discrimination, and violence because of their perceived affiliation with the group.
In Iraq, WPHF aims to ensure the financing and coordination of grassroots civil society organizations working to increase women’s meaningful participation and decision-making in conflict prevention processes and humanitarian assistance mechanism, aiming for an enabling environment for the WPS Agenda across the country.