Event Reports

Al-Tahreer - Establishment of a Network of Civil Society Activists in Ninawa

After being only recently liberated from ISIS’ brutal rule, the province of Ninawa faces many challenges regarding peace building, reconstruction, and achieving political as well as societal stability, being one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse regions of Iraq. To empower and enable young civil activists and civil society organizations to play a leading role in this process, the Syria/Iraq-Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in cooperation with Al-Tahreer Association for Development created a multi-level project aimed at establishing a network of civil society activists in Ninawa and building their capacities in advocacy campaigns.

During the first phase of the project, a network of 26 young activists from 4 different locations in Ninawa including representatives of three newly established civil society organisations was formed. Following the establishment of this network, the second phase of the project consisted of two training workshops on communication skills, stakeholder analysis and on how to lead successful advocacy campaigns, in order to develop leadership skills of youth in Ninawa, enable them to get involved in political life, and to improve the mechanisms of communication between the public and officials in the province. Additionally, a planning workshop was held to discuss the most prominent issues related to community peace in Ninawa, which were then taken as a basis for the advocacy campaigns the participating activists of this project would design later on. To ensure the success of these campaigns and establish a mechanism for cooperation, two public meetings with stakeholders including local government agencies were held. While increasing transparency and accountability of officials in the local government of Ninawa, these stakeholder meetings also ensured the increased civic participation of youth in the political and decision-making process at the local level in Ninawa. Finally, the third phase of the project consisted of conduction of the 4 planned advocacy campaigns. The goals of these campaigns reached from uncovering mass graves of ISIS victims and compensating their families to the reconstruction of the Old City of Mosul. To conclude the project, a last consultative meeting was held to discuss the work of the activists’ network, identify the strengths and weaknesses of the advocacy campaigns and the implementation of the consultative meetings, in addition to discussing future work plans and the mechanism of sustainability of the results and follow-up with the relevant authorities.  

One of the major successes of this project was that the Human Rights Commission will be undertaking follow ups to the conducted network advocacy cases with legislative bodies as well as local and federal government, and will be updating the activists’ network and Al-Tahreer on the progress and results. In terms of sustainability, Al-Tahreer will make sure that communication between members of the group will be continuous and that other training related to their activities will continue to be passed on to them. Group members will be involved in other activities in the future and a social networking group has been established with the presence of a project manager, who will monitor and communicate with the members so that the group can continue to operate.