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Emergency Livelihoods Cluster (ELC)- Iraq: Business Incubation: Standard Operation Procedures

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The humanitarian crisis in Iraq is one of the largest, with the fastest rate of displacement since it began in 2014. This crisis added to the already long list of vulnerable populations in Iraq, including long-term displaced, those who remained in conflict areas, and those who returned to newly liberated areas (NLAs). Hosting communities for displaced populations have become vulnerable due to the lack of resources and the existing limited job market.

For those affected by the conflict, all aspects of life have been disrupted, including access to health care, education, income opportunities, and safety and security. The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan anticipates that 8.7 million people will require humanitarian assistance in that year, including:

  • 0.6 million people who were not displaced and still need assistance

  • 1.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs)

  • 2.1 million people arereturning to (NLAs)

  • 3.8 million residents 02 in host communities

The Emergency Livelihoods Cluster (ELC) strategy helps conflict-affected people cope with the crisis’s impact, improve social cohesion, and reduce tensions leading to violence, secondary displacement, and forced returns. Following this strategy, livelihoods partners’ most immediate objective in responding to the needs is to help replace lost assets, especially income-generating assets, and generate urgent cash income for highly vulnerable families in priority locations. Areas that are a high priority for intervention are those that have a high possibility of social tension.

The cluster identified that 2.1 Million people need emergency livelihoods interventions. ELC partners will target 200,000 people in need, with a particular focus on both the newly displaced and people in protracted displacement, host communities, highly vulnerable resident families, and returnees depending on their specific situation and the local context.

One of the critical program directions livelihoods partners are implementing is supporting small and micro-businesses through business incubation interventions. Business incubation includes business grants, entrepreneurship training, and ongoing business coaching and advice to ensure robust startups and business development arrangements.

This intervention aims to help conflict-affected people in Iraq, including women, men, youth, whether IDPs, host community, returnees, or non-displaced. The ultimate goal is to enable those groups to startup and develop their small and micro businesses, establish a livelihood, and get back economically on their feet.