Better opportunities for all

Project description

Title: Improving the access to education, vocational training and income generation of internally displaced persons, refugees and the host communities in Northern Iraq
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Iraq
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Planning of the Kurdistan Regional Government
Overall term: 2016 to 2018



Around one million internally displaced persons and 250,000 Syrians have sought refuge in the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Northern Iraq since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis and the advance of so-called Islamic State. Most of these people live in host communities, and around 40 per cent in camps. Efforts to care for such a huge number of people, most of whom are destitute, are exhausting the Kurdistan Regional Government’s capacities. Schools are overflowing, and there are few job opportunities, especially in the low-wage sector. Young people do not have any opportunities to complete their training, and there are rising tensions between the local and the displaced communities.


Internally displaced persons, refugees and the population in the host communities go to school, attend vocational training courses and earn their own money through income-generating activities.



In collaboration with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s education authority, the project team is selecting communities and camps that most urgently need additional classrooms. New schools are being built, and old schools are being extended or renovated. Classrooms are being fitted out during the construction process. Teachers are being trained in teaching approaches and methodologies so that they can teach classes of up to 60 children.

To give refugees and local residents opportunities in the labour market, the project team is devising part-time training courses that will give participants technical and manual skills. Analysis of the labour market ensures that the training is tailored to market needs.

New jobs often arise in small and medium-sized enterprises or start-ups. Running management training courses for entrepreneurs and providing support for start-ups highlights the opportunities that exist for providing more people with income and employment.Residents of the host communities, internally displaced persons and refugees are having more contact with one another in joint activities and discussions. Children and adults have fun playing sports and games together and taking part in cultural events and facilitated dialogue sessions in community centres. Such activities help people to understand one another better. The University of Dohuk is also organising training on conflict resolution for social workers, teachers and community and camp officials.

Vocational training course in welding Photo: GIZ / Fabian Schwan-Brandt


Eight schools were set up in the camps for the 2015/16 school year and a further three schools were in place in the host communities. These schools are currently teaching more than 15,000 children and young people. Another 10 schools were in operation at the start of 2017, and three new schools will be available for the 2017/18 school year. 20 teachers have been trained as trainers and are currently instructing teachers in teaching approaches and methodologies, particularly those that can be used in class sizes of up to 60 children.

More than 500 people (of whom almost 30 per cent are women) have already attended courses that have given them professional skills to work in manual and technical jobs. The training curriculum includes courses in welding, sewing, baking, IT, and repair of air conditioning units and mobile telephones. Participants can even train to become plumbers.

700 people have already attended business and management courses for owners of small and medium-sized enterprises and seminars for start-ups. Courses provide interested participants with the core skills that they require to start up their own business.

Non-governmental organisation Harikar is working in partnership with GIZ to provide people living in camps with legal advice, psychosocial support and numerous other services in six community centres. Activities include sewing, computer, literacy and English courses. The female social workers in the centres are particularly important contacts for young girls and women. If young girls and women in the camps have any problems, the social workers can, if they so wish, refer them to trauma experts. These women and girls would not otherwise have any access to such support.