Empowering Iraq: 'Your Counterpart in Creation' Initiative Aims to End Displacement

November 30, 2023

Discussions during the first planning meeting for the new national campaign dubbed 'Your counterpart in creation’. The campaign will promote the safe return of all displaced people.

Photo credit: UNDP Iraq 2023

Early this month, Iraq kicked off a ground-breaking national campaign. Dubbed the “Your Counterpart in Creation” initiative, it's set to advance acceptance and unity, focusing on regions with high returnee numbers — Salah al-Din, Ninewa, Anbar, and Diyala.

Spreading the Message of Unity

The “Your Counterpart in Creation” campaign's mission is to encourage the return of all displaced Iraqis while educating and raising awareness about the risks faced by displaced populations, particularly women and children in the local population. 

Approximately 3.3 million individuals were displaced during the ISIL insurgence close to ten years ago in Iraq. Although many were able to return home, over 25,000 Iraqis are estimated to still be displaced in Al Hol refugee camp and other areas. According to data available to UNDP, at least 6, 207 individuals are recorded to have returned to Iraq and hosted in Jeddah One Rehabilitation Centre and 3,502 have left the centre to return to their areas of origin. The returnees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) particularly women and children, often experience stigmatization when they return to their areas of origin due to their perceived affiliation with ISIL. In addition, the limited social services including housing, land and other amenities in the areas of return also create friction with those who remained in these areas.

Through its work, UNDP has supported approximately 112 individuals return home in 2023. This support includes supporting community acceptance of returnees and displaced people through various community dialogues, mental health support services and livelihood support.

With this new campaign, UNDP will support Government efforts to highlight the existing challenges while offering platforms to discuss and address them. This is intended to foster a more inclusive atmosphere in local communities – particularly among residents and returnees. 

Key Players and Support

The campaign will be headlined by various government Ministries led by the Ministry of Migration and Displacement and working with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of Interior and the Office of the National Security Advisor. 

Ammer Abbas Zeghair (centre), the Director General of Planning at the Ministry of Immigration and Displacement speaks during the planning meeting for the new campaign.

Photo credit: UNDP Iraq 2023

It is these officials from the different Ministries along with the local media who attended the campaign’s first planning meeting.

"The importance of carrying this campaign is to ensure the safe return of displaced communities that have faced crises for long periods,” Ammer Abbas Zeghair, the Director General of Planning at the Ministry of Immigration and Displacement during the meeting. He added that UNDP – which is supporting the campaign through its Social Cohesion initiatives – was an essential partner for the Ministry of Migration and Displacement’s efforts in ending displacement.

Judy Wakahiu - UNDP's Team lead for Social Cohesion (left) talks to the media about the new campaign.

Photo credit: UNDP Iraq 2023

Judy Wakahiu, the UNDP Team lead for Social Cohesion stated that; "Our goal is to encourage voluntary return, in dignity and safety." 

She emphasized the campaign's broader objective is to promote peaceful and safe returns, fostering reconciliation, and ultimately achieving social cohesion in these communities.

First Steps for Lasting Impact

The initial planning meeting laid the groundwork for key action points, laying the foundation for what is hoped to be a successful and peaceful campaign that will run through to the end of the year. 

About UNDP’s Reintegration work 


Individuals including both returnees and individuals living in communities in the areas of return supported by UNDP in the areas of Anbar, Ninewa, Salah al-Din, Diyala., and Kirkuk.


UNDP is the leading agency on reintegration, as it leads the taskforce, and has been working with national and international partners to facilitate return and reintegration across various locations in Iraq. Utilising its expertise and experience to provide social and economic assistance, continued counselling and mental health support, and community support networks to minimize the risks and promote sustainable reintegration.

Through its various projects, UNDP has supported 6,000 individuals including both returnees and individuals living communities in the areas of return. This is mainly in the areas of Anbar, Ninewa, Salah al-Din, Diyala and Kirkuk. 

For UNDP, the goal is to support communities in building back the common bonds that previously held them together, leading to sustainable peace in Iraq. 


UNDP’s Integrated Social Cohesion Programme supports efforts towards peaceful and more cohesive societies in Iraq. Its work is made possible with the generous contributions of the UNDP Funding Window for Governance, Peacebuilding, Crisis and Resilience.