On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Australian Government has announced a landmark commitment of $20 million that will support the reconstruction of Iraq.
A consortium of NGOs and local partners, led by Save the Children Australia, will undertake the 2 ½ year project in the northern Iraq centres of Sinjar and Al Hawija.
Since Mosul was retaken from Islamic State (ISIS) just over a year ago, more than four million people have returned to their homes. However over 1.8 million people remain displaced.
Continuing insecurity, lack of basic services, damage to homes, businesses and public infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, continue to pose significant challenges, as do the physical and psychological impacts of conflict.
People with disability are often the most vulnerable in these circumstances and Iraq is among nations with the highest number of people with disabilities worldwide
Archie Law, Director of the Consortium, said the project was the first of its kind, bringing together NGOs with varied specialist expertise to meet the range of needs on the ground.
“This is the first time the Australian Government has funded a project of this nature,”
said Mr Law, who will be leading the project in Iraq.
“It reflects the complexity of the challenges Iraqis face in rebuilding their lives and reconstructing their country.”
“This project wants to ensure that people with disabilities in Iraq have a voice and play an integral part in that reconstruction.”
Led by Save the Children, the consortium, Building Peaceful Futures, includes CARE Australia, Handicap International and the Norwegian Refugee Council.
The project will establish holistic community services including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), essential protection services, community centres, legal support, and primary and sexual reproductive health services.
Building Peaceful Futures expects to reach more than 100,000 people, including 60,000 women and girls, and more than 10,000 people with disabilities.
The project will work with local partners and engage with civil society organisations to enhance inclusive peacebuilding throughout Iraq.
Save the Children Australia Director of Policy and International Programs Mat Tinkler said the funding would make a significant impact in rebuilding lives and creating stability in Iraq.
"Building Peaceful Futures recognises that for displaced Iraqis returning home, rebuilding their lives will take far more than infrastructure alone.”
“Improving emotional wellbeing and building resilience of vulnerable people in the region, including children, is essential for community reintegration, healing and long-term peace.”
"Importantly, Building Peaceful Futures will ensure that solutions are developed with, and for people affected by war, so the positive effects are felt far beyond the expiration of this project,"
Mr Tinkler said.
Building Peaceful Futures builds on the ongoing humanitarian assistance that has been provided to displaced Iraqi families since 2014 by Save the Children and other partners.
Funding for the Building Peaceful Futures project is through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership as part of the Australian Government’s $100 million Iraq Humanitarian and Stabilisation.
Media Contact: Jess Brennan on 0421 334 918