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Emergency Alert: Children and families are fleeing Syria to seek safety in Iraq. Find out more.
Save the Children helps Iraqi girls and boys living in poverty, including education, health, disaster relief and child welfare. We are also supporting refugee children from the war in Syria. Learn more and find out how you can help children in Iraq.
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Iraq remains among the humanitarian emergencies in the world. Children continue to suffer from the psychological trauma of war and conflict, and access to education and development opportunities has been severely constrained.
As an example, in the northern part of Iraq (where Save the Children is currently operating) 15 schools host operations for 43 separate institutions — that is, most schools serve three to four shifts of students per day, for a few hours at a time. Besides overcrowding, these schools lack a clean water supply, sanitation and garbage disposal systems — as do many of the communities in which the schools are based.
In the south of the country, including Basra, the situation is more acute. In particular, access to fresh water remains a key issue due to the use of a brackish water supply in Basra. Exacerbating the situation, temperatures can reach 140 F during the summer. Because of the salty residue, the water supply needs to go through a complex process of desalinization and purification, which is costly, time consuming and not always effective. It remains another obstacle for children in obtaining a quality education and having a healthy childhood.
The Child Protection Program began operations in early 2009, after completing the training of 15 education supervisors from Sulaimaniyah, Khalar and Khanaqeen and the training of 225 teachers of fifteen basic schools (five schools from each of these districts) in the most vulnerable areas of each district. The program focuses on improving Iraqi children's psychosocial skills in the classroom and at home.
In order to increase capacity at local/community level for child protection, Save the Children has partnered with six local NGOs to establish out of school safe spaces at nine different locations in Khalar, Khanaqeen and Sulaimaniyah The safe spaces are equipped with toys for the 289 children currently attending them. Save the Children volunteers hold community meetings with parents of those children who are attending the safe spaces in an effort to encourage the parents to play a role and be involved in child protection activities. Save the Children also provides a two-day protection/psychosocial/safe spaces training for staff and partners.
In partnership with the Iraqi Child Rights Network (ICRN), Save the Children printed 8,000 booklets and 8,000 posters in Arabic and Kurdish to raise awareness on child rights, child protection and positive discipline for parents, teachers and community leaders.
Save the Children has supported the expansion of ICRN which now reaches 17 of the 18 governorates across Iraq and includes 25 new NGOs, bringing the total number of ICRN members to 56 across the 17 governorates. This creates an opportunity for Save the Children in Iraq to accelerate the program expansion to the south and center of Iraq through implementing joint activities with ICRN, especially on awareness raising and advocacy at the national level.
Iraq Facts and Statistics
Unless otherwise noted, facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s 2012 State of the World’s Mothers report. You can access detailed data here.
Other sources as follows: Infant Mortality Rate: CIA World Factbook 2012; Life Expectancy at Birth: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2012; National Poverty Rate: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2012; Population: CIA World Factbook 2012; Human Development Index Rank: United Nations Development Program
Last Updated January 2014