Netherlands and ILO officials visit interventions supporting decent work for displaced populations and host communities in Iraq

The interventions are part of the PROSPECTS programme, spearheaded by the Government of the Netherlands, which seeks to improve access to employment, education and protection.

Press release | 09 June 2021
Dohuk, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (ILO News) Representatives from the Embassy of the Netherlands, and the International Labour Organization (ILO) met with workers and youth who are being supported under the PROSPECTS programme in Iraq, a strategic partnership, spearheaded by the Government of the Netherlands, which seeks to improve education, employment and protection in the context of forced displacement.

The PROSPECTS programme brings together the ILO, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank in eight countries across East and North Africa and the Arab States, including Iraq.

The visit included a tour of farms in Dohuk, where the ILO is implementing employment intensive investment programme (EIIP) interventions to improve water irrigation channels, leading to enhanced productivity on targeted farms. Together with a similar programme being implemented to improve solid waste management, the employment-intensive interventions will generate over 12,000 working days and 300 decent jobs for vulnerable workers, by the end of 2021. The initiative promotes decent work principles and empowers women and men to develop their skills and find longer-term employment opportunities.

“It is important to invest in decent job creation and find sustainable solutions to livelihood needs amongst displaced and vulnerable host communities in Iraq. Within the PROSPECTS programme we aim to not only work on livelihoods as stand-alone intervention, but offer comprehensive support that also looks at access to quality education and protection interventions. We were grateful to visit the project sites today and see the impact of that approach on the ground at first hand,” said Mirte Bosch, Senior Stabilization Officer at the Netherlands Embassy in Baghdad.

Officials also met with job seekers at a Career Development and Employment Guidance Unit which was established in Domiz 1 camp in Dohuk by the ILO in collaboration with the Swedish Development Aid Organization (SWEDO) and UNHCR to extend career guidance and job matching services to Syrian refugee camp residents. The centre is linked to employment services run by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to ensure additional referral pathways outside the camp are made available for job-seekers.

“The ILO under PROSPECTS in Iraq is implementing an integrated approach to support forcibly displaced persons and host community members to access more and better livelihoods and decent job opportunities. Working with our partners inside the camp in Dohuk is a way for the ILO to extend career guidance and employment services to refugees, hence ensuring more workers and job-seekers have access to decent work,” said Shaza Jondi, ILO's Chief Technical Adviser for PROSPECTS in the Arab States region.

The visit also included a meeting with young people at a UNICEF-supported youth centre, where the ILO and UNICEF are collaborating under PROSPECTS to help young people transition from learning and skills development to decent work through a range of self-employment and wage employment interventions.

“UNICEF’s successful collaboration with the ILO under the PROSPECTS partnership serves to support vulnerable young people, who have gone through skills-development services, with additional employability opportunities, hence contributing to transition girls and boys from learning to the world of work,” said Mads Sorensen, Chief, Adolescent Development and Participation for UNICEF in Iraq.

This includes training youth on entrepreneurship and financial education and providing them with access to financial services so they can set up their own businesses. The ILO recently launched a financial inclusion initiative with the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), providing young women and men and small businesses with access to much-needed financial services that will help them start and develop their own businesses, while addressing barriers in the business environment hindering access to decent self-employment.