Through MLI’s Survivors’ Assistance program, dozens of women landmine survivors in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen have received medical assistance and vocational training. Training in subjects like sewing, embroidery, poulty keeping, and beekeeping has enabled these women to pursue small-scale entrepreneurial activities and become more financially independent. Female landmine survivors endure unique hardships, as compared to their male counterparts, such increased threats of violence and their prospects of receiving an education, gaining employment, or marrying decrease dramatically after they have suffered a mine injury. MLI’s programs to assist and empower these women have been especially crucial for their reintegration into society.
Through the Women’s Empowerment program, MLI provides assistance to all women who have suffered from conflict, helping them to rebuild their lives and their communities. In May, 2017, we launched the project Network for the Economic Empowerment of Women in Iraq (NEW Iraq), in partnership with the AMAR Foundation, to empower female heads of household through a year-long mentoring and employment training program.
As violent conflict persists in Iraq, women are facing increased financial responsibility due to the death or severe injury of the male provider in their household. The NEW Iraq project is designed to address this vulnerability by providing the women with skills that will assist them in their ability to earn a living, and support themselves and their families. Specifically, it will target women from Basra and Dhi Qar and provide them with professional training, internship opportunities, and mentoring, led by Iraqi businesswomen located locally and in the U.S., as well as an online portal for networking and ongoing learning. The trainees will participate in a two-day Networking and Mentoring Skills Building Workshop, as well as monthly training and mentoring sessions in groups of ten with both the Iraqi and U.S.-based mentors. Where appropriate, the Iraqi-mentors will select interested trainees from each group to participate in internship opportunities at the mentor’s own place of business or other local businesses identified by local project staff, where the trainees may develop hands-on training that will enhance their ability to enter the labor market or initiate their own business. Child care, computer training, and English-language training will also be provided for trainees who are interested. Through this holistic, robust, and sustainable mentoring network, southern Iraqi women will receive professional development training that will increase their opportunities to engage in income generating activities and will dramatically improve their ability to support themselves and their family members.
Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project!