Gender at the forefront in Iraq: Encouraging gender mainstreaming in peacebuilding

March 31, 2022

Photo: Workshop participants. 2022.

The women leaders of Iraq are not hard to find; they exist in the classroom, the boardroom, and the home. Advocating for gender mainstreaming in the design of cohesion related activities in Iraq is vital to encourage engagement of all community members. From 15 to 17 March 2022, UNDP Iraq, in partnership with Folke Bernadotte Academy, held a workshop on gender mainstreaming in the design of social cohesion activities for 22 members of Community Peace and Dialogue Committees from Diyala and Kirkuk and community leaders from Anbar, Ninewa and Salah al-Din, as well as representatives from local organization Al Tahreer Association for Development (TAD).

Sessions focused on practicing the conflict analysis process including the causes of conflict using different tools, and an introduction to peace skills with a concentration on using dialogue in designing sustainable peacebuilding activities. It also included an introduction to gender mainstreaming of dialogue activities. The workshop followed up on previous training held for this group in 2021, to build on and expand their capacities.


Photo: Shahla. 2022.

“We are focusing on community activities that have a long-term impact on society and issues related to UN Security Council Resolution 1325, in addition to working with the relevant Committee to Prevent Violent Extremism at the Iraqi government. We are currently launching campaigns with the Salah al-Din Police, Tikrit University, and the Baiji Refinery.”

Shahla Akram Mustafa Ali, 37, Salah al-Din, is the unit leader of Resolution 1325 in Salah al-Din, an engineer, and a member of the Committee to Prevent Violent Extremism with the Ministry of Youth and Sports.


Photo: Milan. 2022.

“Involving women in conflict resolution is vital because women play a very important role, whether it is by influencing other women themselves or by influencing men. Women are the first educators of children. They have a big role in developing principles and values ​​that reduce conflict between individuals.”

Milan Ali, 25, Kirkuk, is responsible for implementing the program to prevent violent extremism and hate speech in Kirkuk, Daquq, and Hawija for Al Tahreer Association for Development (TAD).


Photo: Rabaa. 2022.

“Our role is one as men and women. Women understands women because we know about each other’s suffering. We must try to solve society’s problems by using lessons from past experiences. It is important for social cohesion. If these problems are treated correctly, we can build a healthy society free of extremism.”

Rabaa Muhammed Hussain, 50, Kirkuk, is a civil activist and director of the Women of Hope group in Hawija.


Photo: Nagham. 2022.

“The impact of our initiatives leads to sustainable peace and will serve exclusive economic growth and development in the long-term. It means that men and women can sit at the same table and actively participate in all activities.”

Nagham Aziz Hussein, 50, Diyala, is the Director of the Women Empowerment Department in the Diyala Governorate Office.


Photo: Afaf. 2022.

“This workshop will help our society to assist reintegration of families who are displaced in Iraq into their original areas and promote social cohesion.”

Afaf Abd Abdullah, 45, Anbar, is a school principal, director of an accelerated learning center, member of the Women Empowerment Committee Al-Qaim and a community volunteer.

UNDP Iraq has launched in 2020 a dedicated 5-year Social Cohesion Programme to promote stronger, peaceful, and more cohesive communities in all areas of Iraq. In May 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between UNDP Iraq and FBA to enhance local capacities for peacebuilding in Iraq with a concentration on gender mainstreaming in peacebuilding.