Asuda has had an active summer and it grateful for the generous GlobalGiving supporters who have contributed to our project. With these funds, Asuda is able to continue our work to assist victims of gender-based violence through our shelter. In addition, we have begun work on two new projects through funding received from UN Women and Oxfam Great Britain (Oxfam GB).
From UN Women, Asuda has received funds to support the promotion of education for girls in Sulaymaniyah. The advocacy and awareness campaign was implemented in 5 villages (namely (Tapa Rash, Barda Kar, Sad u Bist, Raziana, and Sutka) over a period of 3 months. Some photos are included of the drawing activities with village girls.
The goal of the project is to support girls' access to education by promoting schools as a safe, clean, friendly and stimulating environment where girls can obtain a quality education without threats, gender-based violence, and bullying. Activities will include:
1. Conducting arts exhibitions in schools in 5 target locations featuring art and painting produced by school children.
2. Producing and broadcasting 6 radio programs in local radio stations on gender-based violence and gender equality.
3. Printing posters, banners and leaflets about the campaign for distribution in schools and other public locations.
4. Publishing campaign messages in the local newspapers
With Oxfam GB, Asuda will implement an 18 month-long program that will contribute to the most vulnerable population in Iraq – widows – by helping them to access social welfare support.
Women who have been widowed by conflict and violence in Iraq are now acting as the head of their households, and have been driven deep into poverty. In the Kurdistan Region, the Kurdish government pays a stipend to women that have become widowed as a result of the Anfal genocide and internal conflicts. The exceptional cases where widows do not have access to the social safety net system are in disputed areas such as Karkok, Makhmor, Khangi, Kalar, Galola (part of Diyala) and Kafi. In these areas where both the Iraqi and Kurdish governments lay jurisdictional claim, widows are left without knowing where to claim their welfare support. When widows apply to the government of Baghdad, they are referred to the Kurdish government, and vice versa when applying to the Kurdish government. Other vulnerable groups of widows include Christians, Azesies, and Shabek, whom are marginalized because of their minority status.
Under this program, Oxfam GB and Asuda will work at local level to help widows to apply and provide legal documents to access social welfare support. The program hopes to empower widows and reduce poverty by making them aware of their entitlement to access welfare assistance.
Thank you again for your support!
The Asuda team appreciates the generosity of the GlobalGiving community in supporting our efforts to improve and protect the rights of women in Iraq. Your funding allows us to continue to care for female victims of violence who visit Asuda’s shelter in northern Iraq.
Additionally, early this year Asuda demonstrated alongside women’s rights activists and NGOs in Erbil in front of the Kurdistan Parliament against an extremist Muslim cleric, Mullah Farman Kharabayi and the publication of his booklet. His statements attacked women’s rights activists and NGOs, only steepening the uphill battle for the protection of women and their rights in Iraq. The Demonstrators handed a statement to the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, voicing deep concern of the cleric’s statements and calling for investigation into threats against women’s rights activists.
Last month, on International Women’s Day, Asuda participated in the establishment of a countrywide women’s network with a group of Iraqi women NGOs called, the Nuhud Iraqi Women’s Network. The formal establishment of this network captures the joint work, cooperation, and coordination of the past two years, reaching a common view of women’s issues, particularly violence against women and girls in Iraq. The Nuhud Network will be invaluable resource for Asuda’s GlobalGiving project, Supporting Iraqi Victims of Gender-based Violence (we have included a copy of the Nuhud Network founding statement as a document on GlobalGiving).
Furthermore, in order to commemorate local women during International Women’s Day, Asuda conducted several activities, including an exhibit of arts, textiles and other products hadcrafted by women in Sulaimaniya, Arbat, and Said Sadiq.
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