In this interview, Tharaa A. Simaan, Malteser International’s Monitoring and Evaluation Assistant for the Ninewa Return Program in Iraq, speaks about the importance of social cohesion in the Nineveh Plains. The region is home to a variety of groups from diverse religions and ethnicities, most of whom were displaced when the area was taken by ISIS. Read about the advances made by Malteser International in the field of social cohesion and the impact on communities living in the Nineveh Plains.Read more
The humanitarian situation in Iraq is entering a new phase. Although the conflict between the government and the so-called Islamic State is over, unpredictable dynamics continue to affect humanitarian operations throughout the country. Small-scale attacks by armed groups in some areas are causing new waves of displacement and preventing displaced people from returning to their homes. Rising poverty, delays in community reconciliation, absence of livelihood opportunities as well as political and social tensions have equally raised fears of renewed instability. Significant efforts are underway to help many Iraqis return to their normal lives after long periods of conflict, but it will take years to rebuild Iraq.
According to the United Nations, 2.5 million people living in areas affected by conflict are dependent on humanitarian aid, including 28% women, 45% children and 15% people with disabilities.
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We help displaced people return home
Malteser International has been caring for refugees and displaced people in Iraq since 2014 with a permanent presence on the ground. In the regions of Kurdistan (Dohuk, Erbil) and central Iraq (Ninewa), we have worked with local partner organizations to provide medical care for the local population and displaced people, among other things. We also provided psychosocial care for traumatized people, supported with training courses in agricultural production for food security for returnees. Since 2018, we have been involved in a comprehensive program of reconstruction in the region, through which we are helping displaced minorities in particular to return to their homes in Ninewa in the north of the country. This initially included repairing their damaged or even completely destroyed homes. In our current project, we are helping small and medium-sized businesses to restart, creating jobs and training positions, promoting social cohesion and peaceful coexistence among the various ethno-religious groups, and improving access to healthcare.
Reports from Iraq:
48-year-old Ahmad Ali Hussein and his family were forced to flee their Iraqi hometown of Al-Mostah in the Nineveh Plains to escape violence of ISIS’ rule. Three years later, the family returned home. To enable his youngest daughter Huda attend school, Ahmad has helped rebuild the village primary school.Read more
Sarah Markiewicz spent nearly 10 years as a researcher and lecturer of Intercultural Theology at the Humboldt University of Berlin. In 2014, she completed her doctoral studies, writing on the importance of interfaith and intercultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims. The academic turned humanitarian is now Social Cohesion Advisor for Malteser International’s Nineveh Return Program in Iraq and works to facilitate peaceful coexistence and dialogue between the numerous ethnic and religious groups in the Nineveh Plains.Read more
With our diverse programme we aim to offer people a real perspective for their future. Eva-Lotta Schiermeyer, Malteser International‘s Program Manager for Iraq, is responsible for the development and implementation of our Nineveh restoration program. She has been involved with the program from the very start and shares her personal experiences of the region in this interview.Read more
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As a sponsoring partner, your regular donation gives real, life-changing help to people in need in our project regions. Your commitment helps us plan ahead and bring about long-lasting impact.
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Locations: Erbil, Baghdad and Talafar
Photo credit donation samples: Malteser International (1+3), Emily Kinskey/Malteser International (2)