The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has provided funding for IOM to implement a project to contribute to stabilization of conflict-affected communities in Diyala governorate, Iraq.
The one-year project aims to foster social cohesion, reduce tensions between local communities and displaced Iraqis and returnees, and support the role of women in peace and security.
Since January 2014, more than 3.3 million Iraqis have been displaced due to the ongoing conflict. Diyala, one of Iraq’s 18 governorates, is in the centre-east of the country and hosts over 86,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs); nearly 90 percent of them (more than 77,300) are from within the governorate, over 4,400 are from Anbar governorate, and nearly 3,300 are from Salah al-Din governorate.
The number of IDPs in Diyala is expected to rise as a result of military operations to retake Mosul. Diyala governorate also hosts over 167,000 returnees, that is, formerly displaced persons who have returned to their locations of origin; these account for approximately 18 percent of all returnees across the country.
The community stabilization project will involve four communities in Diyala governorate. Activities will include the establishment of a community centre; social events such as community theatre and sports matches; and meetings with community leaders. The activities will enable participants to engage in meaningful communication in a safe social space.
Training will be provided for community focal points on psychosocial support and peacebuilding. Caseworkers and trained focal points will facilitate sessions for IDPs and host community members to identify grievances and painful experiences that might fuel tension, and create forums for dialogue to promote mutual understanding between population groups.
The project also aims to promote the role of women in peace and security at the community level. IOM will seek the assistance of local women’s organizations in Diyala that are working towards the implementation of the Iraqi National Action Plan on UN Resolution 1325, “Women, Peace and Security”, which reaffirms the role of women in conflict prevention, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and post-conflict reconstruction. Training will be also provided to selected women in peacebuilding and conflict mediation.