Press release: Iraqi Civil Society Organizations recognized for humanitarian work

11 March 2015 – Twenty-seven Iraqi Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are acknowledged for their support to internally displaced people and host communities in the centre and south of Iraq.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Deputy Representative in Iraq, Grainne Ohara, joined Members of Parliament and federal government representatives in celebrating the achievements of the CSOs under the Humanitarian Relief Quick Impact Grants project, funded by UNHCR and implemented by UNOPS.

"I am pleased to recognize the efforts of civil society organizations from across Iraq in providing needed assistance to the most vulnerable displaced Iraqis, and I am grateful to UNHCR and UNOPS for their support in implementing this project," said Tavga Ahmad, Chair of the Civil Society Committee of the Council of Representatives.

The twenty-seven grant recipients were selected from more than 300 applicants by a committee made up of representatives from UNHCR, UNOPS, and Iraqi civil society. More than $915,000 in small grants were awarded to CSOs in thirteen provinces, including Anbar, Kirkuk, and Ninewa. Grants ranged from $9,000 to $46,000 each, and activities included the provision of free medical services; organizing fairs and recreational trips for children living in camps for the internally-displaced; distribution of food, educational, and hygiene supplies; and vocational skills training for displaced persons.

"When faced with an overwhelming number of IDPs, one can think that there is no solution. But we should not lose sight of what decent Iraqi men and women can achieve, even with small amounts of money. We need to continue these projects and we are grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its generous contribution that enabled these awards," said UNHCR Iraq Deputy Representative Ohara.

Areas with the highest concentration of IDPs were prioritized in an effort to extend practical support to host communities who have shown exceptional hospitality and generosity. "Perhaps most importantly, these initiatives were designed and implemented by Iraqi civil society, ensuring that Iraqi citizens took the lead in identifying and responding to their own needs," said Kareem Elbayar, UNOPS Programme Manager for Civil Society and Reconciliation.

Since January 2014, an estimated 2.4 million people have been displaced in Iraq, out of which more than 1.6 million are currently in the south and centre of the country. The large and growing number of IDPs presents a huge challenge for host communities. Support to these communities is essential to ensure that IDPs continue to be welcomed and that the pressure on local resources of the host communities is relieved.


For more information, please contact:

Bathoul Ahmed, Regional Associate Public Information Officer in Erbil: + 962 7 9022 4281

Kareem Elbayar, UNOPS Programme Manager for Civil Society and Reconciliation in Erbil: + 964 751 014 9245