Despite significant humanitarian responses and considerable international funding for the restoration of livelihoods, catch-up classes for out-of-school populations, and multi-sector reconstruction efforts, little progress has been achieved to create conducive conditions for a country-wide, sustainable, economic recovery.
As of now, a high number of Iraqis are dependent on cash distributions by international humanitarian actors or the Iraqi government because they are unable to find suitable jobs to provide an income. This is driven primarily by 1. crashing oil prices in 2020 affected the Iraqi government’s ability to pay wages and pensions; and 2. due to an increasing tendency of industrialized countries to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels, the main source of income for the Iraqi state and for many Iraqis becomes increasingly uncertain.
Within Iraq, Anbar governorate is one of the governorates most severely affected by the warfare and by stalled reconstruction progress. This has serious repercussions on the livelihood perspectives for the youth. For instance, in 2020, 43% of 15-24 years-old were neither employed nor in education or training, and nearly 17% of Anbar’s population was living below the poverty line.
To address these concerns, GIZ implements the German contribution to the project “Assisting Reconstruction and Improving Living Conditions in Anbar” (ARILA) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The current project term is November 2021 to June 2025, with an overall German contribution of EUR 34.5 million
The ARILA project contains three interlinked components: restoration and rehabilitation of basic services; strengthening of citizen-state relationships; and improving livelihood opportunities through vocational education and business support in the non-agricultural field. ARILA implements its activities back-to-back with the “Restoration of Peace, Livelihoods, and Economic Cycles in Anbar” (RePLECA), and the combination of the two projects is expected to contribute to an overall conducive environment for peaceful coexistence, state legitimacy, and better living conditions for the people of Anbar.
ARILA’s interventions consist of two main approaches:
- More capable local business development services will help business owners and self-employed entrepreneurs access the necessary capacity development, and financial support to (re-)start their businesses, scale their business model and create job opportunities.
- More capable vocational training institutions can provide up-to-date practical trainings on skills that are in demand by potential employers to a sufficiently high number of participants, creating a more capable labor force and higher chances for employment of the graduates.
The underlying hypothesis for change is that a solidly educated local labor force in Anbar can fill the vacancies created by scaled businesses resulting in income generation and business growth, as well as improved local productivity and service availability necessary for the region’s economic recovery.
The main tasks that this project aims to carry out include:
- Developing short-term trainings to provide labor-market relevant skills for the nonagricultural labor market.
- Improving managerial and teaching capacities of the Vocational Training Center (VTC)
- Developing and facilitating a pilot phase of newly developed short-term trainings
- Matching of training participants with potential local employers
Through these tasks, ARILA aims to capacitate employees and teachers at the Ramadi VTC, who will offer a broader array of qualification courses to the main target group of young (unemployed) Anbar citizens living in Heet, Ramadi and Fallujah. A special emphasis is to be placed on young women, former internally displaced people who have returned/settled and host communities for IDP and returnees.