Erbil — In 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) launched a genocidal campaign against the Yazidis — an ethnoreligious minority whose ancestral homelands are found in Sinjar, northern Iraq — and other minority groups. ISIL’s assault on Sinjar led to the displacement of over 350,000 Yazidis, with the majority seeking refuge in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Over 100,000 Yazidis have now returned to Sinjar and are struggling to rebuild their lives. Women who lost their husbands during the ISIL attack are now coping with both looking after their families and earning a living while attempting to come to terms with the impact of the past years. While haunting memories often persist, many women have also become engaged in the fight for justice for survivors and efforts to restore peace and stability in their homelands.
“Women are key to solving many problems and must be involved in building lasting peace among communities. With the voice and participation of women, we can make fundamental changes in our communities. Providing Yazidi women with tangible, sustainable support will enable them to positively contribute to the redevelopment of their community,” said Nadia Murad, President of Nadia’s Initiative and 2018 Nobel Peace Laureate. “I urge other humanitarian actors working in Iraq to invest more in redeveloping the Sinjar region.”
“There are few resources available for returnees to access education, counselling, vocational training, and employment opportunities,” said Gerard Waite, Chief of Mission for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Iraq. “Dedicated psychosocial support and livelihood opportunities are crucial for those who return to Sinjar.”
“We would actively support reconstruction of liberated areas from ISIL to realize stability in Iraq and continue to work to prevent sexual violence in conflict and to support victims,” said Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, when he met Nadia Murad in September 2019. He paid respect to Nadia Murad’s activities supporting victims and their children in the Middle East region and beyond.
The Government of Japan is supporting IOM Iraq, who is partnering with Nadia’s Initiative (NI) for the Women's Empowerment and Livelihood Programme. The aim of this project is to strengthen support systems for women in Sinjar and improve their access to livelihoods. The project will concentrate on livelihood training and provide a business incubator for women-led small businesses. By developing income-generating small businesses, vulnerable women can gain confidence, build community and establish economic independence. The project will also give the same women access to psychosocial support activities through a multi-purpose community centre run by an implementing partner, Danish NGO Mission East, in Sinjar City.
The Women’s Empowerment and Livelihood Programme is part of a larger project, “Leveraging the Security Development Nexus in Iraq: Support for Community Stabilization in Conflict Affected Communities”, funded by the Government of Japan.
For more information please contact IOM Iraq’s Public Information Unit, Tel: +964 751 402 2811, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org