Supporting Small Businesses in Baghdad, Ninewa and Kirkuk

IOM, KOICA Partner to Support Local Economic Recovery in Baghdad, Ninewa and Kirkuk

Decades of conflict in Iraq coupled with the COVID-19 outbreak have severely affected human capital, intensified poverty, and undermined individuals' ability to find decent and sustainable jobs.

The consequences of conflicts are especially severe for vulnerable returnees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities who continue to need access to livelihoods opportunities and recovery initiatives.

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) will extend its support to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) through a USD 5 million grant; with this funding from KOICA,

IOM Iraq will contribute to local economic recovery and community resilience in Iraq through increasing access to sustainable and decent work. The overall objective of the project is to support job creation, entrepreneurship and the growth of small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as to encourage productive employment, including for women.

"During the ISIL crisis, millions were displaced and local economies were destroyed; the loss of livelihood opportunities and the lack of vital services in areas of origin are clear obstacles to return for those who remain in displacement across Iraq," said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. "This partnership with KOICA will reinforce IOM's efforts to address protracted displacement and create the conditions for sustainable returns."

"Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck the globe, youth unemployment has become more serious than before. Especially in Iraq, the ISIL crisis and COVID-19 have had a catastrophic impact on society," said KOICA Chief Director Mr. LEE Dong Hyun. "We hope this project will contribute to recovery from the socioeconomic damage done to Iraq's vulnerable populations."

The project's interventions will target the most vulnerable sections of the population in Baghdad, Ninewa and Kirkuk, with a focus on durable solutions for IDPs, specifically access to livelihoods and employment. The grant will also go towards helping businesses in conflict-affected areas recover from the damage suffered, re-start their operations, and offer much needed jobs to the local community.

To facilitate the creation of sustainable job opportunities, IOM Iraq will offer vocational training; farmer training; on-the-job training; and support for the establishment or expansion of micro-businesses through business support packages.

Sustainable job opportunities will be created by supporting SMEs with grants through the Enterprise Development Fund (EDF). In addition, IOM Iraq will utilize a referral system to match individuals who are identified and trained in the individual livelihood assistance (ILA) component of the project with employment opportunities created via the businesses supported under the EDF.

IOM's approach includes a strong element of community participation, especially in initial engagements with the community, to determine livelihood needs and priorities. The project will also ensure that women are supported to meaningfully engage in mainstream economic recovery and development in Iraq.

Under the project, IOM will work closely with the Government of Iraq as well as with local authorities, community, religious and tribal leaders, the private sector, and other relevant stakeholders to mitigate challenges related to limited economic opportunities and limited access to essential services in the targeted areas.

(Source: UN)

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