The International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Iraq Mission was set up in January 2003 in preparation for the overwhelming humanitarian need following the collapse of the former regime. Although the pace of internal migration in Iraq is slowing, the needs of the displaced families and their communities remain urgent. The role of IOM is to ensure that they receive the assistance they need, whether their intentions are to return, resettle or stay in their current location.
Today, IOM Iraq has over 250 staff working across all 18 governorates of Iraq as well as over 100 staff at its support offices in Amman and in Kuwait. They are passionate about the needs of the Iraqi people and committed to building a stable and prosperous future for Iraq.
IOM Iraq has a diverse set of programmes that cover a wide range of humanitarian and migration initiatives, including providing emergency assistance to vulnerable families, supporting return and reintegration, developing livelihoods, and building the capacity of local and national authorities.
Since 2007, IOM has been implementing the Programme for Human Security and Stabilization (PHSS) in Iraq. The aim of this programme is to support the empowerment of the Iraqi government, communities and individuals to take positive steps toward economic stability.
One recent PHSS beneficiary, Mr. Yosif, is working hard to ensure the success of his new business. Mr. Yosif is originally from Basrah, but the poor security situation and lack of work there forced him and his family to relocate to Mosul. Life in the new city was very difficult, and Yosif struggled to find enough work as a carpenter to feed his family of five children, as well as his sister and mother.
When the situation in Basrah improved, Yosif decided to return home with his family. Rebuilding your life after having been away can be very difficult. To help Yosif and others like him to reintegrate successfully back into their communities, PHSS provides grants and other assistance for motivated individuals to start and cultivate their own small business.
Yosif applied for and received a PHSS grant that provided the essential equipment and materials he needed to start up his own business selling household goods. The business has given Yosif the opportunity to secure a regular income for himself and his family. Since receiving PHSS assistance and starting his business, Yosif can now afford to rent his own small house, provide three meals a day for his entire family and send two of his children to the local school.
Yosif’s business is developing well. He is employing a full-time worker and hopes to increase his workforce. With increasing customers, demand for Yosif’s products is high. “I intend to expand my business and I’ve seen new products in Baghdad that my customers have been requesting. I have more and more new customers since receiving the PHSS grant,” Yosif said.
Having recently completed the second phase of PHSS, IOM has just started the third phase of PHSS focusing on returnees in Baghdad, Diyala, Anbar and Ninewa, with a generous funding from the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). While seeking additional funding from other donors, IOM is committed to help Iraqis in need of assistance and hopes to expand its PHSS assistance throughout Iraq to help as many people like Yosif as possible.