Headway's grant scheme builds resilience during pandemic: 56 companies supported, 700 jobs created
The Headway Programme's Job Creation in KRI grant scheme has contributed to building resilience in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) during the global health pandemic caused by COVID-19. Concluded on 31 March 2021, the project supported 56 companies and created over 700 jobs for vulnerable youth, of whom 240 are females.
It was funded by the European Union (EU) through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syria Crisis, 'Madad Fund,' and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Governorate of Erbil and Rwanga Foundation.
A closing ceremony was held online with the participation of representatives of the EU, 'Madad Fund,' UNDP, the Kurdistan Regional Government, the Governorate of Erbil, and Rwanga Foundation. Beneficiary companies and employees recruited as a result of the project also joined to celebrate the achievements.
Governor of Erbil, Mr. Omed Khoshnaw, said:
"The projects that improve the community economy through improving the individual economy are very important for us, especially in the current situation. We are happy to see that 700 young people have been provided with jobs and many financial aid projects have been offered.
"Also, our youth are being trained to put their ideas into business. As the Governorate and partner, we are happy to carry out projects that benefit the community and reaffirm our support for the youth. We hope that those who have been provided with jobs will benefit, both financially and in terms of work experience.
"We wish to see the products of the young people whose projects have been financially supported in the market soon and provide a source of more job opportunities for other jobseekers."
Head of the EU Liaison Office in Erbil, Mr. Vincent-Guillaume Poupeau, said:
"Through the Headway project, and together with its partners, the EU focuses on building resilience. At a time of economic hardship and post-crisis recovery, Headway and UNDP support regional and local authorities in KRI to develop greater economic opportunities. Building a diverse, innovative and strong private sector is key to ensuring people, wherever they come from and including the most vulnerable, can find work and financial security."
UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Zena Ali Ahmad, said:
"I am glad to see that Headway's Job Creation in KRI has contributed to building resilience for vulnerable communities, especially during the health pandemic. This was only possible through UNDP's strategic partnership with the EU and 'Madad Fund'. Together with our local partners, the Governorate of Erbil and Rwanga Foundation, we helped hundreds of vulnerable youth get back on their feet, lead productive lives and provide well for their families."
Head of Rwanga Foundation, Dr. AbdulSalam Madani, added:
"Economic development and the creation of job opportunities for young people require a step forward towards developing sectors other than the petroleum industry, such as the knowledge economy, technology, agriculture, and tourism through increasing interest in initiatives, as well as improving the educational curriculum to prepare an equipped and competitive generation in the international labor market. Youth must also be proactive, learn, and develop their skills constantly in this changing world."
The Job Creation in KRI grant scheme also promoted entrepreneurship development through the Missing Entrepreneurship component, assisting dozens of start-ups, training nearly 149 youth (58% females) and providing them with seed funding to start their businesses.
Aiming to ensure sustainability and grow this community of youth entrepreneurs, the project developed the Invest My Idea Crowdfunding Platform to connect start-up owners, mentors, investors and organizations working in the entrepreneurial landscape and provide diverse investment and economic opportunities for years to come.