US Launches New Support for Civil Society Program in Iraq

The U.S. Embassy, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), celebrated the completion of the USAID nine-year, $740 million Community Action Program, during a transition ceremony in Baghdad on November 27, 2012.

From Dohuk to Al Anbar to Basrah, the Community Action Program helped local communities complete 10,000 projects, from schools and water networks to health clinics and roads. The ceremony was hosted by U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Douglas Silliman, and Acting USAID Mission Director, David Harden.

During his remarks, Mr. Silliman noted that:

The Community Action Program worked at the grassroots level, fostering citizen involvement and giving communities the opportunity to learn and demonstrate their skills in mobilizing resources and engaging their local governments to identify community priorities and meet local development needs.

USAID’s Harden added:

The Iraqi capacity to work in a democratic process is now well known and demonstrated. USAID support for this dialogue, beginning under the Community Action Program, will continue through future programming.

The ceremony also commemorated the launch of USAID’s new initiative, Broadening Participation through Civil Society, to provide funding for local NGOs that advocate for vulnerable communities. The new initiative seeks to empower Iraqis by providing an initial $75 million in funding for up to 175 local NGOs to build their capacity and advocate on behalf of Iraqi citizens, including the poor and marginalized. The new project will provide technical advice in key fields such as education, legal institutions, agriculture, and economic diversification.

(Source: US Embassy)

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