Kindergarteners Omar and Zahra’a remember the day their friend Hassan was killed by a passing car while playing on a neighborhood street. Ask them why Hassan was killed, and they will reply with the innocent candor of children too young to apportion blame: for reasons they cannot comprehend. They and all their friends, much like hundreds of Baghdad children, had played on the street for as long as they can remember, and all simply because they had no other options.
Amid all the uncertainties of modern Iraq there is one immutable constant: when summer arrives temperatures in Baghdad soar to more than 120º F and stay there for several months. This seasonal reality is especially discomforting for motorists mired in traffic. Today, however, comfort levels are rising as thousands of Baghdadis trade in their old clunkers for late model air conditioned cars. This burst of conspicuous consumption results, in part, from improved security, an economy growing at 12.6 percent a year, and increased credit and bank financing provided through private commercial banks working with the USAID-Tijara Provincial Economic Growth Program.
Some Baghdadis worried about increased traffic when they saw all the new cars.
In 1999, Ari Hishyar Sedeq Hassan moved to Germany where he worked in a bakery in the small town of Gronau, producing Black Forest Rye Bread, cinnamon buns and Kaiser Rolls. Thirteen years later, Ari decided to return home to Dahuk in northern Iraq. “The economy and security have improved so much here, there really was no reason to remain in Europe,” he explains, adding: “On the flight back from Germany I was one of 23 Iraqis permanently returning home on the plane.”
Ari arrived in Dahuk with the idea of integrating a working bakery into a western-style super market. In North America this pairing is well established with studies showing the smell of freshly baked bread inspires people to buy food items.
Children in Basra, in southern Iraq, face numerous impediments to their education, from overcrowded classrooms to the lack of hygienic washrooms, desks and teaching aids. Yet, those living in the Al Resala community in Central Basra faced an even more looming threat: for years, they have dodged cars and prayed for their lives simply to walk to school.
Cars race along the main street in Basra only to come to a sharp stop at one of the numerous checkpoints around town. There are no lanes along what should be a four-lane highway and no traffic lights.
Women-focused civil society organizations estimate that at least twenty percent of the female population in Iraq has either no formal identity or has serious impediments in proving their identity. USAID’s Access to Justice Program educates women and vulnerable groups about their rights and encourages them to use the justice system.
Lamia, born to a poor family living in the impoverished neighborhood of Sadr City in Baghdad, was married at the age of 13. Her family considered this marriage a respite from increasing poverty for the young girl.
Technical assistance and a grant from the USAID Iraq Financial Development Project enabled three Iraqi universities and their business and economics schools to apply for membership of the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).
In December 2011, the AACSB International granted member-ship approval for the Iraqi universities. The recipient universities include Baghdad University, Al Mustansiryia University, and Al Mansour University College, attended by several thousands of young Iraqi students. Following a comprehensive evaluation of their current programs in finance and business, the three Iraqi universities were admitted as the newest members of the AACSB.
Melons are big in Diwaniyah governorate and getting bigger, thanks to the USAID-Inma Agribusiness Program.
The governorate is one of the major melon producing are-as in the country where farmers plant more than an esti-mated 16,000 donums of melon annually. However, before 2010, only local varieties were grown there, which produced low yields – approximately 2.5 metric tons per donum.
Mahmmon Majeed, a young and eager farmer, wanted to expand his Dahuk feedlot business to add a butcher shop for the residents of Dahuk. This wasn’t an easy operation for Mahmmon to create the Blann Butcher Shop. The skills involved in breaking down carcasses takes time and effort in order to have the types of products consumers want to buy.
Before Mahmmon first started the butcher shop, he used outdated tools and various knives to cut the meats to the specifications of his customers. However, he soon discovered that his cutting method was wasting a large part of the carcass. He needed help, so he turned to USAID-Inma for guidance.
Prior to opening and throughout the first months of operation the USAID-Inma meat processing s
The fish industry in Iraq floundered over the past decade. Farmers were faced with a multitude of problems including disease, the lack of electricity, poor feed quality, lack of water and several economic hardships, such as high operations costs, low prices and transportation issues.
The fish industry had always been a staple for the nation’s economy, but something needed to be done to revive it.
In 2008, USAID-Inma Agribusiness Program began a partnership with Iraq’s largest and best designed hatcheries to help improve carp fingerling production in Iraq. The hatcheries had been operating at less than 20 percent of capacity due to conflict, sanctions and the shortage of water. The hatcheries produced less than 2 million carp fingerlings, which is