OFFS for children in Iraq

OFFS for children in Iraq
Iraqi children having fun at the OFFS

In cooperation with the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), CCPA Iraq and al-Salaam Football School have started the Open Fun Football Schools project. Although Cross Cultures and the Open Fun Football Schools cannot solve the conflict in Iraq, we believe that our project and tools will provide the youth with positive narratives of friendships and cooperation: narratives that contradict those of conflict and which through support and nurture can grow strong and overshadow the negative impulses of war.

Vulnerable groups: women, girls and children

Vulnerable groups: women, girls and children
Happy Iraqi girls at the OFFS

The situation for Iraqi girls and women is particularly critical. Besides age-tyranny and war, girls and women's access to schools, sport, local and national influence are considerably below their fellow male citizens. With focus on gender equality our goal is a minimum 30% female participation in our activities. By getting girls and women involved in local civil society activities we hope to contribute a future in which girls and women are secured an equal place in the society of Iraq.

War affecting the children

War affecting the children
Children in Iraq are affected by many years of war and conflict

Iraq is located in the Central Middle East neighbouring Syria, Iran, Kuwait, Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The country has suffered from a number of wars and sectarian conflicts since it’s republican establishment in 1958. Under President Saddam Hussein’s reign, the country was involved in a war with Iran from 1980 until 1988, which claimed an estimated 1 million lives on both sides. 

In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait and claimed it, as its 19th province, which subsequently led to invasion by the United States in what is known as the first Gulf War. After the attacks on the United States on September 9, 2011, in March 2003 the US and its allies invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein. Subsequently, sectarian conflicts have taken place all over the country, with local Sunni and Shia militants fighting each other. 

During 2013, Sunni militant groups stepped up attacks targeting the Iraq's Shia population in an attempt to undermine confidence in the Nouri al-Maliki-led government. In 2014, Sunni insurgents belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group seized control of large swathes of land including several major Iraqi cities, like Tikrit, Fallujah and Mosul creating hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons amid reports of atrocities by ISIL fighters. Wars are often harder on vulnerable groups such as women and children. A survey by UNICEF, published in 2012, estimated that between 800,000 and a million Iraqi children under 18 – or about five percent of Iraqi children – have lost one or both of their parents. Furthermore, the Unicef estimates that 14 million children are affected by war in Iraq and Syria. 

A bulk of children and youth

A bulk of children and youth
The Iraqi population is among the youngest in the world

In addition to war and conflicts, Iraq is challenged by a regional tendency: a demographic distortion with a bulk of young people waiting for a chance to study, to work, get married, be heard, taken seriously and achieve influence in their own life and the society. Of Iraq’s 38 million people, 22 million are under 25 years old, which makes it among the youngest in the world. This tremendous group have had their childhood and youth destroyed by a war they have no share in, and in addition to a unstable and insecure living they are put on hold, waiting.

Reports from the OFFS in Iraq

Latest news from OFFS in Iraq

Latest news from OFFS in Iraq
Article, JP, 2012 part 1, in Danish
Latest news from OFFS in Iraq
Article, JP, 2012 part 2, in Danish
Latest news from OFFS in Iraq
Article, Al-Sabah, 2009

Facts about Iraq

Total population: 37,056,169 (July 2015 est.) 

Share of children and youth under 25: 59.23%

Youth unemployment: 35.1% (2015)

Share of women in the labour market: 17.7%

Refugee population: 288,035 people (2015)   

Football players (registered/unregistered): 16,000/524,000

Female players: 900

Clubs: 110

Clubs with women’s teams: 0

Our work in the country 1998-2016

First year CCPA worked in the country: 2005

Main focus areas: Reconciliation, peace building, gender equality

Sponsors: Sida, Operations Dagsværk, Fundacio FC Barcelona

Football clubs established: 80

Children involved: 15,363

Football Festivals: 210

Children attended: 21,777

Results 2015

Open Fun Football Schools conducted: 25

Children attended Open Fun Football Schools: 1,008

Volunteers involved: 445

Volunteers educated: -

Parents involved: -

Parents’ workshops conducted: -

Fun Festivals conducted: 9

Children attended Fun Festivals: 2,213

Number of municipalities Cross Cultures is present in: 7

Local schools involved: -

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