Association for Crisis Assistance and Development Co-operation
Women-Led Mobile Teams Support Women and Children in Northern Iraq
Since 2003, Wadi’s women-led mobile teams operate in several provinces of Northern Iraq. They visit remote and isolated villages on a regular basis. The teams include medical staff, social workers and legal assistants.
During their visits which might last for several hours or even more than one day, the teams’ staff gathers the women in the local school or mosque. If neither is existent, they meet in a local's private house. They will then talk in a relaxed and easy way about living conditions, problems, wishes and needs. In a familiar atmosphere, they will discuss matters which are barely touched among themselves. Thus, the team starts getting an idea of the general situation and the special needs of the community. It might collect further data to determine what kind of help would suit best and then organize this help. That was the way some projects like the Playmobile and further small projects were developped and realized.
When visiting a village, the mobile team will return regularly to establish a good and trustworthy relationship with the female inhabitants. This trust is a precondition for their successful work. For the women living in this secludedness, the team's members also provide a trustable link to the outside world.
Besides general talking and exchange, the team conducts awareness courses on health and rights related issues and aids women victims of domestic violence and ‘honour’ crimes. Through advice by team members, women in need may find protection in one of the women shelters of the region. It is central to the recovery of the region to assist the women by providing them basic health, education and training, and, last but not least, by developping awareness of their rights.
Between 2003 and 2008, thousands of women in Northern Iraq received medical care and assistance through the work of the mobile teams. As of 2007, different teams supported women in the Soran, Rania and Dohuk region.
As medical supply has slightly improved, the focal point of WADI's mobile teams has shifted from first aid and medical assistance to health and rights awareness issues.
The mobile teams conducted several studies about the situation of women in the region, such as on female victims of Baathism, the Anfal widows, woman-led households, or more recently the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM).
The teams of Garmyan discovered in 2003 through their work that female genital mutilation is widespread in Northern Iraq. This discovery led WADI to initiate a large pilot project against FGM. The campaign has already received large public support, and a bill to ban FGM was introduced to the Kurdish regional parliament. A preliminary study on the prevalence of FGM in the region showed as a result that 907 out of 1544 women interviewed or examined by the mobile team were victims of FGM.
Education to confront the prevailing practice of FGM has since become a major task for the mobile teams. Besides, they teach health and rights awareness issues and provide individual counseling on these matters. Currently, several teams are on their way in the Suleymaniah, Kirkuk and Arbil Governorates.
The mobile teams are co-operating with the WADI-managed women centers of Kifri, Byara and Halabja and with the outsourced NAWA shelter in Suleymaniah. There, they offer weekly consultation hours as well as seminars and lectures concerning "violence against women", "forced marriages", "women's rights in marriage", "women in Islam", etc.
We need your support to equip the mobile teams and to continue their work. Thank you for helping!
The mobile teams project is
conducted in co-operation with RTI
and the Rosello Group.
It is promoted by Women's
World Day of Prayer Austria.
WADI - Association for
Crisis Assistance and Development Co-operation