Bringing back hope: Sustainable livelihoods build community resilience in western Iraq

April 25, 2023

Vocational training in process.

Photo: Othman Khamis.


Rummanah is a sub-district on the north side of the Euphrates River, in western Anbar, Iraq. Controlled by ISIL from mid-2014 until November 2017, community members from the area are still healing from displacement, turmoil, and trauma experienced throughout this period.

To ensure returnees to the area and remaining community members are supported, UNDP and local partner World Vision Iraq, supported by the Government of Japan, are providing a combination of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support and livelihoods assistance. Through this integrated approach, sustainable solutions ensure that community resilience is enhanced, preventing the “push factors” that can lead to joining extremist groups, such as lack of employment and income. 

Several factors influence unemployment, including lack of educational background, vocational training opportunities, and available positions, among others. Various interventions by UNDP in Iraq have proven time and time again that there is no lack of motivation among youth if they have proper access to opportunity. In the small community of Rummanah, Anbar, young people have demonstrated motivation and willingness to work hard to improve their futures.

A group of nine young participants who have received vocational training on water installations have joined together to open a private office to provide a wide array of services, including establishment and repair of water networks. Partnering with a local plumbing and electricity expert, the group rented and renovated a space and purchased equipment and office necessities with a stipend provided following their training. 

The newly established office for water maintenance in Rummanah, Anbar.

Photo: Othman Khamis.


The new office has been endorsed by the local government with emphasis on its importance in stimulating the labor market and creating future job opportunities for additional youth. Local government officials have committed to employ the business for maintenance work required by government departments.


Mayor of Rummanah, Khalid Abdullah Mahna.

Photo: Othman Khamis.


“The Rummanah center is now open, and around 60 young men and women have received training to strengthen their skills.”

-Mayor of Rummanah, Khalid Abdullah Mahna.


Waleed, Rummanah, Anbar.

Photo: Othman Khamis.


“The opening of the center received a positive response, and the training that UNDP provided has enhanced our skills. I think that the center is helping a lot of youth in Anbar. It brings hope back to the governorate.”

-Waleed, previously unemployed. 


Kaled Ahmad Turki, Electrical and Water Installations.

Photo: Othman Khamis.


“This center helped to employ twelve young men and women in Rummanah district thanks to UNDP and World Vision. We would like the opening of more centers to provide more training in the future.”

-Kaled Ahmad Turki, Electrical and Water Installations.

UNDP’s Socio-economic and Community Resilience for the Prevention of Violent Extremism (SERVE) Project is working to encourage reintegration in communities of Anbar, Ninewa and Salah al-Din by providing livelihoods and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support with partner World Vision Iraq, supported generously by the Government of Japan. Through phase one of the project, 334 individuals have received support.