Government of Iraq and United Nations Signs $ 2.5 million Joint Program to Enhance “Economic Development of Rural Women in Iraq”

Date: Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hon Baiyan Nouri, Minister of Women Affairs and Dr Sadiq Syed, UN Women Representative signing the agreement for joint project on “Economic Development of Rural Women in Iraq”

On 9 July 2015, Hon State Minister for Women Affairs Engr Baiyan Nouri and UN Women Representative Dr. Syed Sadiq in partnership with FAO, UNFPA and UNESCO signed the Government of Iraq and the United Nations Joint Project on “Socio-Economic Development of Rural Women”. The joint project entitled ‘Socio-Economic Development of Rural Women’ aims at strengthening and enhancing the socio-economic status of rural women and young girls in selected governorates in Iraq. The programme will adopt a Four-Prong strategy, including : 1) teaching literacy and basic social & functional life-skills; 2) creating a cadre of female agricultural outreach workers in pilot governorates who can promulgate life skills and agricultural skills to increase their productivity and income, as well as setting up agricultural productive groups among selected rural women and young girls; 3) setting up a network of Rural Women volunteers capable to conduct community mobilization targeting their neighbouring women and girls on women’s rights, reproductive health and Gender-based Violence issues; and 4) empower a network of women leaders and establishment of local/rural women associations/collectives in targeted districts and villages as well as establishing self-help groups among selected rural women able to offer support among them. In addition, the programme will provide special focus to most vulnerable rural women and young girls (including IDPs, and female headed households). Rural women in Iraq face compound challenges which impede their participation and realization of their rights at various levels. The joint programme aims to support women in marginalized rural communities that are hindered by limited access to resources and services.

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women-UN Women, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will work jointly with relevant ministries of the government including the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Health and partners from civil society and women NGOs to support women socio-economic needs. The importance of this programme lies in the fact that the UN organizations jointly will provide rural women in selected governorates with a wide range of services such as: educational services, leadership skills, vocational trainings, legal services, psycho-social support and awareness raising about their rights and reproductive health, among others, towards responding to women’s needs and achieving social and economic security. The programme is in line with the National Development Plan 2014-2017 and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF).

Hon Baiyan Nouri while signing the agreements expressed appreciation to Government of Iraq and the United Nations for the partnership in empowering rural women and communities. “Rural Women have great potential and enhancing their skills and access to resources and services will contribute tremendously in national development”, Hon Nouri highlighted.

“Rural women are key agents for achieving the transformational economic, and social changes required for sustainable development and promoting gender equality and investing on rural women is timely in achieving the goals”, emphasized Dr Sadiq Syed, Representative, UN Women Iraq Country Office.

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