Although major efforts are being made by the Government of Iraq (GoI) and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to encourage and facilitate returns, many vulnerable families are unable to return without assistance.
Ninewa and Dahuk are among the most severely affected governorates in Iraq. Dahuk hosts one of the largest displaced populations, while Ninewa governorate hosts the largest number of people in need. There is a strong desire from the people to return and re-settle, the most common reasons for delaying their return include a lack of security, access to lands and property, and the unavailability of services and employment. Once back in their village, returnees face significant challenges, including the loss of livelihoods, the high level of destruction of their properties, and deteriorated public services.
JDA has partnered with ZOA International to begin assisting Iraqi IDPs and Chaldean communities. The project will provide livelihood opportunities to vulnerable groups of IDPs, returnees and host community members, in line with their identified needs. By giving them livelihood opportunities, we seek to increase IDPs, and returnee re-settlement in Hamdinaya and Telkaif districts in Ninewa governorate, and Sumel district in Dahuk.
New Operations in Kurdistan
JDA is now registered in Iraqi Kurdistan and we have opened an office in Erbil. Our goal is to expand the excellent work JDA has been doing in Central Asia and to respond to the needs of the Kurdish people.
JDA has carried out preliminary agricultural assessments and is well placed to contribute in this sector both directly and in partnerships. We are now making assessments in several ancient Christian and Yazidi villages that had been inhabited for hundreds of years, but were deliberately targeted by ISIS and savagely destroyed. In August of 2016, they were liberated from ISIS by Kurdish forces. The purpose of the assessment is to determine the cost of rebuilding homes, shops, churches, clinics and hospitals with plans to begin rebuilding. We are working in conjunction with a local construction company, and a young priest and his diocese, which oversees the spiritual and physical well-being of these villages and people. Together we will meet with displaced families to encourage them to return and become active participants in the rebuilding process. In addition, an apprenticeship program will be started to train young men in the building trades. We want to be a catalyst to help restore and stabilize their communities and their lives.
We bring to Kurdistan 25 years of experience working with the people and communities in Central Asia and desire to continue to be a catalyst for transformation in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Kurdistan Region in Iraq
With a population of nearly 4 million, the three governorates of Dohuk, Erbil and Suleimaniah cover about 40,000 square kilometers-four times the area of Lebanon and larger than that of Netherlands. The capital of the Region is Erbil.
The Kurdish language is of Indo-European origin and is among the family of Iranian languages, such as Persian and Pashto, and is distinct from Arabic. The two main dialects are Sorani and Kurmanji.
Since the establishment of the no-fly zone in 1991 and even more so since the liberation of Iraq in 2003, the Kurdistan Region has undergone rapid development. Over 65% of the villages destroyed by Saddam Hussein's regime have been rebuilt, two new airports have been opened and new highways, schools and hospitals are being constructed.