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Cash-based programmes: Empowering women and men in post-conflict areas of Iraq

Displaced shouldn’t mean dismissed. In Iraq, FAO’s cash-based programmes support vulnerable men, women and families affected by conflict.

Farah Messo Mohamed, an FAO beneficiary in Shaqlawa, Iraq, is a widow with four children. Like Jenan in Saqlawiyah, Farah lost her husband to the conflict. "After ISIL came, we all moved here." (© FAO / Karina Coates)

Jenan is a mother of five children, from the Iraqi village of Saqlawiyah. She lost her husband and her son in the conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and now lives with her three young daughters. Her widowed daughter and her own two children also live with her.

After being displaced from their village, the family had lived in camps in Ameriya. They returned to their home in Saqlawiyah last September. Jenna was ready to re-start her life, and had plans to prepare and develop a piece of land near her house to grow vegetables, but she lacked support. Then, FAO visited the family and briefed Jenan about a cash-for-work programme in her village.

FAO’s cash-for-work programme in Iraq aims to support displaced, returnee and host community families affected by conflict, and ensure that vulnerable households are able to meet their food requirements. In addition, the cash earned by the participants also supports the local economy. Activities include rehabilitating irrigation canals, clearing nurseries and re-building agricultural infrastructure, and the programme provides equal opportunities for women and men to participate.

“It was an exciting moment for me and my children to hear about this opportunity,” said Jenan. With the guidance of FAO’s implementing partner, she started to earn money through the cash-for-work programme, and was able to transform her piece of land into a home garden. She now plans to sell the excess vegetables she grows. “It was exactly what I needed,” she adds. 

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