Jobs create prospects

Project description

Title: Temporary stabilisation of vulnerable households of refugees, IDPs and host community members 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 2017



Many people have sought refuge in the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Northern Iraq since the outbreak of the Syrian war in 2011 and the advance of the so-called Islamic State terrorist organisation. Despite their own poor economic situation and financial difficulties, Kurdish municipalities must manage the influx of around one million Iraqi citizens forced to flee their homes and some 250,000 Syrian refugees. Efforts to care for these people, most of whom are destitute, and to meet the extraordinarily high demand for public services and infrastructure are exhausting the Kurdistan Regional Government’s capacities.


Internally displaced persons, refugees and host community members take advantage of a range of temporary income and employment opportunities in the Kurdish provinces of Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah.

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


GIZ is creating temporary employment and income opportunities to support vulnerable households in the Kurdish provinces of Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah. Refugees, 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.

These cash-for-work activities are used to provide social services and repair public infrastructure in the camps and host communities. Participants rehabilitate roads, schools, water pipes and sewers and set up recreational facilities in the camps. Health advisors are also trained in the camps and subsequently pass on their health and hygiene knowledge to other camp residents.

Parallel to the employment initiative, the project is providing cash payments to support particularly vulnerable individuals who are unable to work. Households with family members unable to work, be they single mothers or families with chronically ill or physically or mentally disabled individuals, receive direct financial assistance. This money allows them to determine their own spending habits and pay for their own food and accommodation.

The project forms part of the BMZ special initiative Tackling the Root Causes of Displacement – Reintegrating Refugees. In the short term, it supports refugees and host communities equally. In the long term, its sustainable initiatives will mitigate the structural causes of displacement, such as social inequality and economic uncertainty. This project is helping to promote the integration, reintegration and social development of IDPs and refugees in Iraq.

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


Cash-for-work measures have been used to provide short term employment to over 30,000 men and women to date. These individuals have used their income to improve their families’ livelihoods and make urgently needed purchases. Additionally, 5,000 vulnerable families have received financial support services. 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.

They spend their income in local markets and businesses, which benefits retailers and service providers and stimulates local market growth. This provides economic stability at a time of financial hardship.