According to the World Health Organisation, there have been 1.8m cases of Covid-19 in Iraq. Alarmingly, UNICEF also reports that the pandemic has pushed 4.5 million Iraqis below the poverty line. Job losses, rising prices and other social-economic impacts of Covid-19 risk depriving the most vulnerable of education, health and financial security.
Refugees in Dohuk, Kurdistan region North of Iraq who fled conflict in Syria have been left even more vulnerable due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dreams and hopes after a world pandemic
For Rozerin*, the crisis posed new challenges and compromised her ability to meet her family most basic needs. Covid-19 also put a hold on Adil’s* project. He fled from the war in Syria, and has been working on a start-up that would sell olive oil.
To help the most vulnerable communities achieve sustainable livelihoods, GOAL teams in Iraq, with the help of the Centre of Disaster Philanthropy, put in place a financial assistance programme. It was a two-pan project that helped the families through multi-purpose cash assistance and financial management mentoring.
GOAL teams on the ground were able to support approximately 1,200 individuals. The majority of beneficiaries were women-led households and included refugees and other households left most vulnerable by the pandemic. In total 186 families received assistance to help them meet their vital needs and reach basic food security.
Helping small projects take life
Rozerin thanked GOAL, saying that she was able to “pay rent, buy new clothes for her children; afford accessing to health care and purchasing tools and materials for initiating her own enterprise of knitting loofas.” She intends to continue investing in revenues so she can be able to scale-up her business.
Adil thanked the team for the inspiring financial literacy and savings awareness sessions. He was happy to finally be able to pay his debts and invest in his small project selling olive oil.
Fatima*, is another business woman receiving support from GOAL. She works a tailor and has now been able to get a sewing machine and start her own small business. She now offers her skills to help her family and the neighbourhood to get better clothing.
Helping families and households regain control of their most basic needs can hopefully allow them to build a sustainable livelihood for themselves and their loved ones. They can finally look forward to a future beyond the pandemic.
*Beneficiaries names were changed in order to protect their identity.
 UNICEF Iraq, The World Bank, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and the Ministry of Planning in Iraq, last consulted on 30/08/2021 Assessment of COVID-19 Impact on Poverty and Vulnerability in Iraq | UNICEF Iraq