In Anbar, Iraq, UNDP’s funding has addressed adversity faced by local people

Anbar was severely affected by Daesh’s occupation and the people of the province have needed extensive help to undo the catastrophe wrought by Daesh.

UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilisation (FFS) continues to create improved conditions to benefit existing residents also to encourage the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

By the end of 2018, FFS had a total of 3,102 projects. The impact of the work of the FFS was vast: by the end of the year, 1,672 projects, 54% of the overall portfolio, were completed, benefitting 5,055,375 people, including 2,408,922 women.

Below are the stories of the people of Anah, a town in the west of Anbar which was captured by Daesh, who benefited from the projects launched under the UNDP’s FFS

© UNDP Iraq / Claire Thomas. Father of seven Kamal Abdulsalam sits for a photo with his daughter Ilaf, 7, and his mother-in-law Aziza Hakim Ismail in their family home in Anah.

Kamal and his family fled to Al-Ameria camp when Daesh took control of the town, returning in December 2017 after liberation.

“When we came back we didn’t have enough water and electricity was provided by special generators,” he explains. “When UNDP started working here it changed for the better: the water, electricity and opportunities for work. Now we have power from the main supply for about 18 hours per day.”

© UNDP Iraq / Claire Thomas, Aziza Hakim Ismail is Kamal’s mother-in-law.

Her age is over 70; after 70 she stopped counting, she says

“During Daesh control we paid for a generator to provide energy,” she explains. “We can’t do anything without electricity. When my husband used to get up early to go to work it was dark, so we relied on power for things like that.”

“Thanks to UNDP we now have power from the main supply for around 18 hours per day,” she says.

© UNDP Iraq / Claire Thomas. Kamal sits with his daughter Ilaf, 7, in their family home in Anah.

When Daesh took control of the town, Ilaf joined the family in fleeing to Al-Ameria camp, returning in December 2017 after liberation.

© UNDP Iraq / Claire Thomas

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© UNDP Iraq / Claire Thomas. Khalida, 30, (left) and Suha, 33

Khalida, 30, (left) and Suha, 33, are both mothers to four children and have been neighbours and friends since their childhood. They worked together as part of a UNDP-supported cash-for-work programme in Anah, after suffering terribly because of Daesh.

Both women lost their husbands because of Daesh. Suha’s husband was killed in an airstrike and Khalida’s husband was killed by Daesh because he was a police officer. Their husbands’ deaths removed their sources of income, so the UNDP’s cash for work programme provided them a vital opportunity to support their families.

“The most important thing about the work was that I had money for my children and to pay the rent,” says Suha. “I accepted immediately when they offered me a job.”

It was her first job and she hopes to continue working.

For Khalida too, the cash for work project offered her some financial relief to pay off her debts and buy things for her children.

“The project was very good for us,” she says. “We are so grateful, and we hope there will be another opportunity for us to work on a similar project in the future.”

© UNDP Iraq / Claire Thomas
© UNDP Iraq / Claire Thomas

The war with Daesh killed Khalida’s husband and left her homeless. She was living in a caravan that the owners allowed her to live in temporarily.

For nine weeks, Khalida took part in a UNDP-supported cash-for-work programme in Anah, earning an income while helping clean up buildings in her home town.

“The project was very good for us. We are so grateful and we hope there will be another opportunity for us to work on a similar project in the future,” she says.

Since Daesh murdered her husband, a police officer, she struggled to provide for her children. Her full-time job as a cleaner in a school earned only $40 per month.

Khalida was brought up as an orphan, and worries about her children’s future since her husband was killed.

“My dream is for my children to have a different life to mine,” she says, wiping away tears. “My only hope for the future is to get a home for me and my children, she says.”

© UNDP Iraq / Claire Thomas
© UNDP Iraq / Claire Thomas

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The Anah Water Station complex needed extensive repairs after liberation and the support of UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) was vital to getting it back up and running.

© UNDP Iraq / Claire Thomas. Anah Water Station Complex
© UNDP Iraq / Claire Thomas. Salah Latif Al-Ani, 48, has worked in the Anah Water Station for 10 years

Salah Latif Al-Ani, 48, has six children and has worked in the Anah Water Station for 10 years. He stayed in Anah during the Daesh occupation, continuing his work at the water station.

“The situation was very difficult when ISIS came here,” he says. “As a worker in this station it was very difficult to keep working here and to keep the station operating. I had to depend on my experience and my own spare parts since we had a shortage.”

Daesh was unable to run this vital infrastructure and Salah explained that it provided Anah’s residents with only four or five hours of water each day.

“Now the station provides enough water for everyone and it’s very good quality,” he says. “We rely on water for our everyday life. We use it for washing, bathing etc, and also for our gardens. We really, really love our gardens. When we had only five hours of water we had to reduce our usage.”

“We are so grateful to UNDP for helping us rehabilitate this water station. When you give something back to someone that he had before and lost, he will appreciate and value it more than before. Water is life, and we appreciate it so much more now.”

© UNDP Iraq / Claire Thomas
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