detail - Foundation Office Syria and Iraq
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For the youth of Iraq, including the Ninawa Province, social media is the main source of information. Often, the information shared on the platforms is taken out of proportion and turned into rumors or accusations, especially in cases of corruption and negligence. This issue represents the communication gap between local government officials, people’s representatives, including community leaders, and the citizens, which creates a disconnection between the people’s needs and actual policies. The Syria/Iraq Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and the Al-Tahreer Association for Development (TAD) saw the need to decrease this gap and give officials and the youth the possibility of direct exchange. Therefore, TAD, with the support of KAS, implemented a project aimed to increase political participation of the youth in the Ninawa governorate through civic engagement. 25 youth activists – 16 men and 9 women from various ethno-religious backgrounds – were selected from different districts and sub districts of the Ninawa province to participate in a four-day training workshop on advocacy and communication skills in Erbil.
Following their training, some trainees were selected to meet with officials, including members of the Ninawa Provincial Council in Mosul. This allowed them to put their gained knowledge into practice and most importantly, to build relationships with local decision-makers, critical in finding solutions to deal with the issues and needs the youth activists identified as most pressing. Indeed, empowering the youth and establishing bridges between them and decision-makers will help the former advocate for issues directly concerning them and their community. Moreover, the meetings resulted in a decision by the Ninawa Provincial Council to allow one youth activist to attend the council’s monthly meetings as an observer, in a rotation between the trainees. This decision proved to be a successful advocacy footstep for the youth trainees and will pave the way for further future decisions that will increase the young activists’ engagement on the local socio-political scene.