Better access to employment opportunities in Basra’s underserviced settlements

A collaboration between UN-Habitat and the ILO will focus on equipping vulnerable young people with business skills, improving their access to employment services, and introducing labour-intensive approaches.

Press release | 09 November 2022
Baghdad, Iraq, 9 November 2022 – UN-Habitat and the ILO in Iraq are collaborating to increase access to employment opportunities for young women and men living in underserviced settlements in Basra, where the unemployment rate is high and living condition is poor.

The collaboration is part of UN-Habitat’s broader project, “Increasing Access to Employment Opportunities for Vulnerable Urban Population in Basra City in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis,” funded by the European Union. The project targets around 21,000 people living in three underserviced neighbourhoods of Al-Ahrar, Al-Kubiyah, and Jurf Al-Melah, by providing basic services such as water, waste management and access roads in urban and informal settlements, creating job opportunities, and enhancing the skills and capacities of vulnerable urban populations and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Basra City.

Under the new collaboration, Un-Habitat and ILO will work closely with local partners, namely the Directorate of Labour and Social Affairs, to enhance employment services for job-seekers by establishing an employment service centre linked to a digital employment platform. In addition, the Directorate staff will receive capacity-strengthening training to deliver these services, which include skills development, career and job search guidance, and job placement.

Another key aspect of the programme will be to equip young men and women with the necessary knowledge and skills in the construction sector and business development. This programme will include introducing ILO’s “Start and Improve Your Business” (SIYB) training programme, designed to support small-scale entrepreneurs to start or grow their businesses. After the completion of the skill-improvement training, entrepreneurs will be referred to the employment service centre, which will help them connect with organizations offering a wide range of support to grow and sustain their small businesses.

“This collaboration will help mainstream decent work into project interventions, and ensure that young people are equipped with market-relevant skills that will help improve their access to employment opportunities,” said Dr Maha Kattaa, ILO Country Coordinator in Iraq.

Mr Wael Al Ashhab, Head of UN-Habitat Iraq said: “I am glad to see the formalization of the cooperation between UN-Habitat and ILO in Iraq, which will magnify the impact of our interventions on the economic and social conditions of the targeted people in Basra, particularly unemployed young men and women.”

This collaboration will utilize Employment Intensive Investment Programmes (EIIP) to improve access to services and create decent job opportunities. EIIP methods link infrastructure development with decent job creation and promote local resources such as labour and equipment. The programme will build the capacities of local contractors and young engineers on these methodologies and ensure the application of Decent Work principles through developing different tools.