OPERATION DAGSVÆRK:116 New Associations in Iraq

The Iraqi Youth Network has established 25 social associations, 32 associations within the refugee camps and 59 sports associations in form of athletic clubs. The associations were sponsored by the Danish network Operation Day’s Work, whilst the administrational courses were held by the international NGO, Cross Cultures Project Association.
The associations formed were established through three phases: 1) Mobilization of youth through sports events. 2) Form activity groups through the volunteering youth, 3) Transform them into formal associations.
Our local partner in Baghdad, Al-Salam F.S. held the first course for volunteering youth, whilst Cross Cultures held the association building seminars through former DBU Head of Education, Poul Gilling and later on a strategic planning seminar through retired footballer and coach, Henning Kurland.
All of this led to the formation of 116 associations under the leadership of the newly formed umbrella board called Iraqi Youth Network consisting of ethnically and religiously diverse group of youth, of both sexes.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports in Iraq registered the umbrella organization recently, under the Kerkh district of Baghdad. The Association are there to help three major target groups, women; in particular widows, youth and refugees/IDP’s.For widows, the project has mostly been about creating independence for them.
The IYN believes it can only be done through economic independence, so workshops for sewing, beauty saloons and grocery shops were created to create an income for these women. Whilst for the youth, which is a broad definition comprising of children, teenagers and young adults, with them the projects have been more or less educational.
For children, its sports and games, with educational centers such as the "SFO’s"; to help them with homework, teach them about Mesopotamian history, do English courses with them etc. Amongst that, social activities that include music lessons, book clubs are services that also are available.
Whilst the youth, are taught valuable tools to volunteer effectively, organize civil activity and formal associations. Whilst Syrian refugees are integrated into the Iraqi society through our job centers’, wherein work is found for them, their children are put into social activities and they are helped settling in Iraq outside the camps.
The same process goes for the IDP’s who flee from one province to another and are in need of settling into a new community that is of different ethnicity or governance. In March and April, the IYN will hold three major festivals, Hubs, to celebrate the great success of this nationwide project.
The festivals will be held at Baghdad, Babylon and Sulaymaniyah, where all youth will be invited to participate in the celebrations of reaching 34.000 participants in 2015.

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