Iraq in brief
|Area:||438 317 km2|
|Population:||32 847 000 (2011)|
Iraq has undergone severe economic and social regression in four decades preceding the fall of Saddam Hussein´s regime in 2003. Last American soldier left the country in the end of 2011. After more than 10 years of freedom the country is still afflicted with high level of corruption, sectarian violence and social and economic inequality. Even though the Iraqi oil reserves are one of the biggest in the world, one fifth of the population lives under the poverty line.
People in Need first started working in Iraq over ten years ago, shortly after the 2003 invasion. At this time, PIN focused its efforts on reconstructing and rehabilitating schools and health centres in Missan governorate in southern Iraq, an area that had gone largely unnoticed by other humanitarian actors.
As PIN began to establish its presence in the country, its activities grew to include capacity building initiatives aimed at restoring and empowering civil society after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003.
In the spring of 2004, PIN was forced to close its office due to the deteriorating security situation in the country and move to Amman, Jordan. From there, PIN continued to manage its programmes until it was able to re-establish its presence in Iraq in 2010.
PIN re-entered Iraq in 2010, opened its office in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, KRI. Since 2010, PIN started to focus more on development education, civil society oriented activities and capacity building of local partners.
Since 2014, as a result of the violence and conflict linked to the takeover of Iraqi territory by the so-called Islamic State (IS) and the counter-insurgency operation launched by the Government of Iraq and its allied forces, greater numbers of people are being forced to flee their homes. Iraq faces a complex and growing humanitarian crisis, with over 10 million people estimated to be in need of some form of humanitarian assistance.
It is currently estimated that since 2014 more than 3.4 million Iraqis have been displaced throughout the country, placing increasing strain on already destitute host communities. Displaced families, and their host communities, across the country have been unable to cover basic needs and are relying on negative coping mechanisms.
In response to the takeover of large parts of Ninewa governorate by so-called Islamic state (IS) in 2014 and the massive displacement of people from the affected areas, PIN changed the focus of its activities and began providing humanitarian assistance to internally displaced people and the host communities in Northern Iraq which then faced the biggest wave of internally displaced people. Since 2014, in KR-I, the population has increased by 30 per cent. In addition to hosting IDPs, the KR-I hosts a further 250,000 refugees who have fled Syria from 2012 onwards. Since 2014, PIN has chosen to focus of their activities in the field of education, and supporting vulnerable families through providing shelter, non-food materials or cash for the winter.
Recovery of the education system and return of the children back to schools is crucial for restoration of the sense of normalcy, especially for children, who were in particular affected by the violence, displacement and chaos. PIN has supported 12 schools and 3300 students through distributions of teaching and learning materials; summer activities; a back to school campaign for children and parents; and providing psychosocial support training to 160 teachers.
PIN was one of the first humanitarian organizations to start working in the field of education in the newly liberated territories in the north of Iraq.