SALAR’s Iraq Social Care Project Highlighted by the UN

SALAR’s project to strengthen governance in social care in Iraq was recently highlighted by UNDP and UNHCR as an innovative response to the Syria and Iraq crisis. Among other things, SALAR helped build social workers’ capacity to treat PTSD following the arrival of a large number of refugees to Duhok in 2014.

Recently UNDP and UNHCR published the second volume of its Compendium on good and innovative practices in the regional response to the Syria and Iraq crisis. From over 100 nominated interventions the Sida-funded and SALAR implemented project Governance in Social Care Iraq was among those included in the compendium!

The scale and complexity of the crisis in Syria and Iraq and its human impact have necessitated a high level of innovation to reach more people in a context of financial constraints and to optimise responses towards sustainability. To share learnings about the shifting ways in which agencies, governments, and local organisations are responding to the crisis, UNHCR’s and UNDP’s  Regional Joint Secretariat publicises good practices from the region around Syria.

Syria Iraq Compendium

The Governance in Social Care Iraq project (GOVSOC) was implemented from 2012 to 2017 by SALAR in partnership with the Iraqi organisation IRFAD.

The project worked with two governorates in Iraq – Duhok and Diwaniyah – and also engaged with central level stakeholders in Baghdad and Erbil. The aim of the GOVSOC partnership was to strengthen governance and management in the social care sector by addressing issues of service provision and service quality, accessibility, accountability, responsiveness, effectiveness, and coordination between legislative and executive powers at sub-national level. Despite the challenging implementation context, the GOVSOC project achieved significant results verified by an evaluation carried out towards the end of the project period.

The project was characterised by responsiveness and attentiveness to the reality and the needs of the local authorities. This had been recognised and appreciated by the partners, and the fact that activities have been incrementally planned based on continuous consultations with beneficiaries have made them highly relevant. It has also meant a high degree of ownership as well as increased transparency and public dialogue.

The project also had to respond in real time to crisis. For example, following a large influx of refugees to Duhok after Daesh overtook Mosul in 2014, SALAR developed social workers’ capacity to detect and treat posttraumatic stress disorders, and engaged all senior sector heads in a crisis management coordination process. SALAR also helped the government make structural changes at the provincial level to increase effectiveness.