Escalating violence across Iraq has forced more than 2.67 million Iraqis to flee their homes, over half of whom are children. The majority of these families have fled to the semi-autonomous governorates under Kurdish control, which are relatively safe and stable.
Across Northern and Central Iraq, hundreds of thousands of displaced children and their families are now seeking refuge in schools, unoccupied buildings, mosques, churches or open spaces such as public parks and newly established camps. Thousands of children were unable to return to school because they have been displaced or because displaced families are living in their classrooms.
Conflicts rob children of their childhood, and now the effects of the violence and subsequent upheaval are having an enormous impact on thousands of children’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Save the Children is supporting children and their families who have been affected by the conflict. Our programming focuses on immediate needs, including food, water and non-food Items, such as winter clothes and cooking equipment, as well as the key needs of children, including education and protection.
Save the Children is running Child Friendly Spaces (CFS)/Youth Friendly Spaces (YFS) in both camp and urban settings in Dohuk, Erbil, Diyala, Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah, providing a safe and nurturing environment for tens of thousands of children. Psychosocial support activities including child resiliency and psychosocial first aid are offered at the CFS to help the children overcome the experiences of the crisis and displacement. We work on identifying cases of the most vulnerable children including separated or unaccompanied minors and refer them to the relevant agencies and authorities for additional support.
Worryingly the number of children out of school in Iraq is only likely to increase if the conflict persists and people are unable to return to their homes. Save the Children is providing Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) education programs to children between the ages of 3 and 6, Non-Formal Education (NFE) for children who cannot attend formal schooling u (a curriculum validated by the Ministry of Education and UNICEF), Catch-Up Classes, and Mother and Toddler programs. Our education programs are offered to IDPs in both camp and urban settings across Dohuk, Erbil and Kirkuk governorates.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Save the Children has been providing families with access to clean water by installing water tanks and trucking a daily 260 metric tons of water for families to drink, cook and bathe. We’ve also installed latrines and working with Camp Authorities and Management to rehabilitate drainage and disposal of waste so to minimise the risk of children catching diseases. Save the Children also distributed hygiene kits and conducted hygiene promotion activities and awareness sessions to IDP communities in both camp and urban settings across Dohuk, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Kirkuk governorates.
Food Security and Livelihoods
Save the Children distributed food parcels, and vouchers in Sulaymaniyah governorate. Building on this we plan to expand our programming to provide unconditional cash transfers.
Shelter and Non-Food Items
Save the Children has distributed core-relief items including hygiene kits, blankets, cooking equipment and bedding to more than 55,000 people to date across Northern and Central Iraq.