2019 Winter-Spring Activity Report

Annual General meeting of Nwe Organisation: Reviewing 2018 with an eye on the Future

The general meeting of NEW Organization was held on January 10, 2019 to review the activities of the last year and plan for the New Year. The staff discussed new approaches to improve and enhance the departments and implement the best work methods from 2018 according to NWE’s frameworks and goals.

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Citizenship, Participation and Peaceful Coexistence

The ‘Citizenship, Participation and Peaceful Coexistence’ project is supported by MISEREOR and Wadi organization. The goal of this project is to create an environment where all IDPs, Syrian refugees, and host communities (Kakais) of Halabja can coexist and live in peace.  It offers participants different cooperative activities to achieve life goals together.

  • Providing Media Training to girls to increase their chances to land job opportunities in the future is one of the activities of this project. It offers trainees theoretical and practical training at Dangi NWE Radio station. Consequently, these girls can use their voices to start broadcasting their own programs to demand their own rights. Many previous participants of this program are currently being employed due to their participation in this course. In total 16 women participated from host community in media course from December 1 – February 28, and on March 12th all the participants got their certificates. According to pre-test and post-test 80% of participants  had progressed.   One participant, Hawzhen Namiq worked as volunteer in our radio section and is now employed in radio.
  • Providing Sewing Courses theoretically and practically for refuges, IDPs, and host communities to improve their skills to have a trade; 28 refugees and 14 women from the host community participated in sewing courses.
  • Opening handcrafting Training to all participants and encouraging them to make their handmade items and sell in the markets to support themselves financially. A total of 4 refugees and 17 women from host community  participated in this course. The course ran from December 1 till February 28.
  •  Music Class  for women to develop their talents; 3 IDP and 10 women from host communities  participated  from December 1 till February 28.
  • Monthly Social Seminars are offered to the participants of this project, in three months two social workers visited Ashti camp six times to discuss social issues, health and hygiene, FGM, early marriage, and domestic violence to the Yezidi, and IDPs of the camps. A total of 120 women were reached through this activity.
  • Final Exhibit At the end of the three month project NWE put on an exhibit showcasing the participant handmade creations for sale to the public. This event was a great success and the proceeds went directly to the participants, encouraging them to support themselves financially in the future. They also all received certificates for their respective courses.
  • Media coverage on these activities:  From KNNFrom SNNC,  From Kurdistan Television 

Green city Halabaja

On  February 6, 2019 we announced the  ‘Green City Halabja’ campaign in a press conference to the media. We talked about our push to stop using plastic bags and instead provided hundreds of multi-use cotton bags. The idea is to encourage people to use cotton bags instead of plastic bags when they shop for their daily needs, because they are better for the environment. The mayor and head of municipality showed their support for the campaign. The campaign includes seminars in public places, schools, and villages around Halabja to increase environmental awareness and to encourage people to protect and ‘green’ their communities. We would like to be a model city and hope to encourage other cities to join us in this campaign.

Media coverage of the events: From KNN, From SNNC, From WISHE, From Wadi

Radio Dangi NWE Programs

Dangi NWE radio station is a community radio station which is one of the projects of NWE Organization and it is funded by Wadi organization. It broadcasts 11 hours daily, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm in Kurdish, Kurmanji, and Arabic in addition to two hours of VOA Kurdish language department broadcast, on 88.6 frequencies FM in Halabja governorate, Sharazoor, Hawraman and Arbat.

The morning programs are broadcasted in Kiramnji dialect and Arabic language by Refugees for Refugees Radio. It starts with a live broadcast program which interviews refugees and takes calls, live, to talk about their issues.

The afternoon programs include news, music time and various special programs on current issues such as women, youths, environment, health and sports. They are all aired in Sorani and Hawrami dialect.

International women’s day

On international women’s day, March 8 we held a series of activities honouring the special day. We broadcasted special programming about the day and what it means to our work, and the situation of Violence against Women in Kurdistan, especially in Halabja and the surrounding areas. On March 8, several members of NWE organisation were awarded by GBVWG and UN Women for their work in “bettering our society and tackling gender based violence and gender inequality”.

Media coverage: From VOA Kurdish, From Kurdistan Television, From SNNC

 

Peace andCoexistence in Halabaja

On the 31 anniversary of the chemical attack in Halabja NWE organisation in cooperation with OGBL organisation held an event where IDPs and Refugees donated  their blood to Halabja hospital as symbol of peace between them.

For video coverage of the event click here

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Ending Plastic Bag use in Halabja

On February 6, 2019, we held a press conference announcing to local media our push to end the use of plastic bags, by encouraging the local community to switch to reusable cotton bags as part of our “Green City Halabja” Campaign.  The negative environmental effects of single use plastic bags, which are a common sight littering the streets, were highlighted and explained.  Hundreds of reusable cotton bags printed with the campaign’s logo, will be distributed to the local community for free.

Nuxsha Nassih the Mayor of Halabja, and Kwestan Akrm head of the Municipality of Halabja attended the press conference to show their intention to be part of the campaign, this project is supported by Wadi and currently in need of funding. If you would like to support this project please donate here.

The ‘Green City Halabja’ campaign is a response to the urgency that climate change is having on the environment in Halabja.  Working together to create public parks and green spaces, recycling, planting flowers and trees, the campaign hopes to have immediate positive effect on the community.  We hope that Halabja will become the first city in Iraq to be ‘plastic bag free’, and set an example for how small change can have a big impact.

Since 2012 NWE Organisation has focused on improving the environment and highlighting the area’s natural beauty and regional products. Halabja is a city that has suffered devastating human and environmental costs when it was bombed with chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein during his campaign against the Kurdish population in 1988. The death and injury toll is estimated to be between 3,200 and 5,000 and the violence and brutality of the chemical weapons has deeply scarred the community and the land, even now 30 years later.

The logo of the “Green City Halabja” campaign, tells it all, out of the shell of a chemical weapon, emerges a beautiful tree, a hopeful symbol of a better life coming out of a violent past.

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Halabja Summer of Peace and Non-Violence 2018

NWE Organization for Protecting Environment and Women’s Rights is launching the ‘Halabja Summer of Peace and Non-Violence 2018’ in cooperation with our partner organization Wadi. The project will provide classes for locals, Iraqi IDPs and Syrian refugees and is for women and children. The classes offered this summer are:

  • English,
  • Music including guitar and sitar
  • Art both painting and drawing

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This program continues the spirit of the ‘Halabja Summer of Peace’ campaign, which was launched by NWE organization in 2015 with the aim of promoting mutual living and coexistence between locals and Iraqi IDPs and Syrian refugees in Halabja. The refugee situation in Halabja is complicated. While the Syrian (mainly Kurdish) refugees fleeing the civil war are mostly welcomed warmly, the Arabs who have arrived from central Iraq are met with suspicion. Currently Kurdish nationalism is strong and years of suppression under the Arab nationalist regime of Saddam Hussein have not been forgotten. Especially here, in Halabja,where during the Anfal campaign in 1988, the Kurdish population was targeted by sarin and mustard gas attacks, between 3,200 and 5,000 were killed or otherwise sustained lifelong injuries and illnesses. This project works to change the way Kurds and Arabs relate to and engage with one another, fostering an environment where peaceful co-existance and mutual cooperation can thrive.

This year we have chosen to join Wadi’s ‘No to Violence’ campaign and include its aims of ending violence against children in schools and the home, in our summer programs. So in addition to the English, music and art classes offered they will also be holding seminars on children’s rights, children’s health, healthy environments for children and adults and general themes of human rights.

The project will also hold social activities such as picnics to bring people together.

This program will last from June-September 2018.

Combatting Violence Against Women

On November 26th and again on November 29th, we held seminars followed by an open discussion about combating violence against women. The seminar on November 29th was presented by Shokhan Ahmed from WOLA, as a part of series of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign in Halabja NWE Org office.

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The seminar and open discussion about violence against women, that took place on November 26th was presented by Niyaz Dlshad and Heshw Jamil, also as part of the series of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign in the Agricultural Technical College in Halabja.

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We are happy to share that the seminars were both very well attended.

The seminars were organized by NWE Org and supported by WADI.

Highlights from November

The month of November has been a busy time at NWE organization. Our different projects are progressing well. Here are some highlights we would like to share with you:

Recently on the 13th we held a graduation ceremony for 32 girls who finished the English Course program. The girls were from different backgrounds, local, refugee and IDP, they all received certificates of participation.

Our successful sewing course for local, refugee and IDP women continues, and new skills are learned every week. These skills give women the economic independence to provide for their families.

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We also held a health awareness seminar where 37 Yazidi women attended. The seminar was presented by Shadan Merza, a medical instructor . With the fast approaching winter the women we visited also requested winter clothes, shoes and coats for their children, rugs, heaters and oil to stay warm. If you would like to help, please donate here.

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We also visited Ashty Refugee Camp of Arbat where we held a women’s legal awareness seminar for women, increasing their awareness of their rights and how to obtain them.

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All of these activities were supported by Medica Mondial and Wadi. For more day to day updates about our work please follow us on Facebook.

Refugee for Refugee Radio Wins Raif Badawi Award

We are happy to share the news that the Refugee for Refugee Radio Team has been awarded the 2016 Raif Badawi prize for courageous journalists.

The award was named after the Saudi secular activist and blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes because of his blogging. The International Media Alliance (IMA) launched the prize jointly with his wife, Ensaf Haidar, to honour journalists ” that under high personal efforts trigger societal debates”.

The prize will be presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair on the 19th of October.

The radio team has chosen to use their new platform to campaign for Badawi’s freedom. They have also decided to dedicate the month of October to highlight issues of freedom of speech in their program.  Check back soon for more information, and to know what you can do to support this developing project.

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Halabja Condemns the Yazidi Genocide

On August 3rd 2016, NWE Organization along with other civil society organizations from Halabja Province (Capital of Peace) commemorated the second anniversary of the Yazidis Genocide. We also came together to condemn the brutal act that took place on this date two years ago,  and show empathy and solidarity with Yazidis throughout the world. A good number of women from diverse ethnic backgrounds, languages and religions (Muslim, Yazidi, and Kakais) along with IDPs from Falluja and refugees from Kobani-Syria participated in the ceremony.  The local news and satellite channels were in attendance and reported on the ceremony.