USAID's Ta'afi Program Empowers Local Partners for Recovery and Progress in Iraq

USAID's Ta'afi Program Empowers Local Partners for Recovery and Progress in Iraq

Shafaq News/ Brittany Brown, Director of USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), provided an overview of the Ta'afi program in Iraq, highlighting its commitment to fostering a stable and prosperous Iraq through collaboration with local partners.

According to a readout by Brown, since its launch in 2018, Ta'afi has successfully implemented 481 activities in collaboration with over 228 local partners, including community groups, civil society organizations, and local governments.

Operating in regions such as the Ninewa Plain, Mosul, Sinjar, Baghdad, Basrah, and Dhi Qar, Ta'afi focuses on enhancing public service delivery, rehabilitating community infrastructure, restoring livelihoods, and addressing social issues threatening stability. She said.

During her visit to Iraq, Brown emphasized the importance of engaging with the US Embassy and USAID colleagues, as well as Iraqi partners and grantees, to discuss how the program aligns with the priorities of the Iraqi people. Key areas of focus include ongoing recovery efforts, climate change mitigation, and addressing water scarcity, particularly in the country's southern regions.

Brown expressed admiration for the role of Iraqi partners, especially young Iraqis, in driving local change that has the potential to influence national-level discussions and promote progress throughout Iraqi communities.

Ta'afi has witnessed inspiring collaboration among individuals from diverse backgrounds, including Shia, Sunni, Shabak, Christian, and Yezidi communities, who are working together to bridge religious and ethnic divides, forging stronger and more resilient communities and ultimately contributing to a stronger and more resilient Iraq. She added.

OTI director said that over the past five years, Ta'afi had made significant strides in northern Iraq, assisting communities devastated by the occupation of ISIS. Activities have involved rubble removal, restoration of water and electricity networks, sewage system rehabilitation, community and cultural center refurbishment, and school renovations. Education has emerged as a top priority for communities, leading to school renovating and providing school desks and kits, benefiting thousands of students.

Recognizing the importance of healthcare, Ta'afi has extended support to rehabilitate Ibn Al-Khatib Hospital following the 2021 fires and equipped primary health centers throughout Iraq with critical supplies, including oxygen concentrators, to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Brown explained.

Regarding water scarcity, "USAID's Ta'afi program improved access to water for 3 million Iraqis in Ninewa and Anbar provinces by providing pumps, pipes, maintenance tools, and vehicles to water departments since 2018. Activities included assistance valued at approximately 1 million dollars to repair the West Mosul Water Station, which serves as the main water pump station for around 400,000 residents, and equipping four water stations in Ninewa."

Ta'afi's collaborative approach involves facilitating consultations between residents and local government representatives to identify priorities, leading to increased service delivery and infrastructure projects that address community needs. These initiatives have sparked the formation of community councils in program areas, further enhancing collaboration between communities and governments to tackle challenges.

With the steady decrease in rainfall and escalating temperatures, Iraq faces severe drought conditions. To raise awareness and promote civic climate action, Ta'afi is partnering with journalists to share practical steps for conserving Iraq's natural resources. Notably, the program supports grassroots initiatives and amplifies the voices of marshland communities to combat the drying up of Iraq's marshes, a critical ecological concern.

Demonstrating the collective commitment to environmental preservation, Brown said that Ta'afi facilitated numerous waste clean-up campaigns along the marshland and Tigris River, engaging over 2 million Iraqis and gathering around 80 tons of waste with 2,600 volunteers.

"USAID remains committed to collaborating with our Iraqi partners to drive positive change in Iraq. We aim to contribute to a more stable and prosperous future for the Iraqi people through our efforts in education, climate change, water management, and healthcare." The OTI Official concluded.

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