From Crisis to Opportunity: Empowering Iraqi Women as Agents of Change
In the northern Iraqi town of Al-Ayadiyah, the COVID-19 crisis spurred a woman named Badiaa into action. She saw that some of the women around her lacked sufficient food and other basic materials to support their families, and worried about the conflict and competition such scarcity might cause.Badiaa also saw an opportunity. “In a society of limited resources,” she said, “necessity inspires.”
Despite a community tradition of devaluing female labor, Badiaa encouraged women to cultivate their land and raise vegetables—some to eat, hopefully some to sell. She took pride in inspiring women to be proactive, and also in seeing men learn to support them. Badiaa’s husband, who encouraged her efforts,donated goods to vulnerable families.
Badiaasays the support of an NP team was essential to her success. “They helped me in thinking that women can play a different role in the community. Even when the team was not present because of COVID-19, they maintained their relationship with us through telephone conversations.”
She also noted how the entire community appreciates NP. “They have encouraged and empowered us to consider new ways to strengthen our community. We started to see things differently with the pandemic. We looked after each other more. Now I am teaching others that small changes can bring big results. I am proud to support my people and change their perspective on the value of women’s work.”
With your support, we can continue to support women like Badiaa to forge relationships and community solutions before conflict even begins.