Jobs create prospects

Project description

Title: Income generation for IDPs, refugees, returnees and vulnerable households in 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: 2017 to 2022



Iraq is considered to be a fragile state in an unstable region ravaged by ongoing conflicts. The war in Syria and the advance of the so-called Islamic State (IS) terror organisation have caused about a million internally displaced persons and around 250,000 Syrian refugees to seek refuge in the autonomous region of Kurdistan. 

The economic situation in the Kurdistan region is difficult, because of the low oil prices and with it the reduction in the regional government’s budget funds. This has resulted in high unemployment and poverty among all population groups. In such circumstances, it is especially internally displaced persons, refugees, returnees and the population of the host communities, who are deprived of access to income and income-generating activities, that suffer the most.  


Internally displaced persons, refugees, returnees and members of the host communities of Dohuk, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Halabja have access to income and income-generating activities.

CfW road construction activities in the Kabarto camp. Photo: GIZ/Fabian Schwan-Brandt


The project is creating temporary employment and income opportunities to support vulnerable households in the Kurdish provinces of Dohuk, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Halabja. Refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and underprivileged residents are offered up to 40 days' work, enabling them to earn an income and at the same time relieving pressure on the host communities. Their earnings allow them to meet their own basic needs. This direct payment model (cash for work activities) is used to provide social services and repair public infrastructure in the camps and host communities, for example roads, schools, water pipes, sewers and recreational facilities. 

In addition, the project is supporting vulnerable households to generate income independently over the medium and long term. This takes the form of activities such as labour market-orientated training, internships in the private sector and promoting start-up businesses. 


Cash-for-work measures have been used to provide short-term employment to over 45,000 men and women to date. These individuals have used their income to earn a livelihood for their families and make urgently needed purchases. With their worries about earning a living alleviated for a few months, they are able to improve their prospects and devise strategies for more effectively securing their livelihoods in future.

A further 500 particularly vulnerable households have received financial support services and associated training to start or resume their own income generating activities, such as running a hairdressing salon or a grocery store.

CfW health advisor training course. Photo: GIZ / Fabian Schwan-Brandt

More than 1,500 people have taken part in training to obtain professional qualifications and have completed internships. This has led to many of them finding work in the private sector or being taken on by the companies in which they completed their internships. 

In addition, 250 entrepreneurs and managing directors of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises have already taken part in business start-up programmes to achieve or continue to develop their business ideas for the first time. These measures help companies to create new jobs, thus stimulating the local economy.