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Celebrating progress in Iraq’s Women’s Advisory Boards

With Canada’s support, the Supporting the Participation of Women’s Advisory Boards in Local Governance project (over $5.1 million, 2018-2022) has convened Women’s Advisory Boards (WABs) in the 5 most ISIS-affected provinces in Iraq — Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salahaddin — with the goal of increasing women’s participation in local governance. The WABs seek to increase women’s participation in local governance and engage with local decision makers to advance projects and policies that are important to women, girls and all Iraqis in their communities.

Much like women’s rights organizations, WABs seek to increase women’s participation in local governance and engage with local officials to improve the lives of people living in vulnerable situations. 

More than 100 members of the WABs gathered for a celebratory conference in Erbil to discuss progress made on community projects such as rehabilitating parks, making public buildings more accessible and facilitating art competitions to raise awareness about issues that affect women and girls. The group’s 190 local initiatives were shared with government officials, members of parliament, representatives of foreign governments, and local and international nonprofit organizations.  

One WAB gave a presentation that was particularly impactful and showed just what can be accomplished when women work together. For the presentation, a group of women from different backgrounds sat on the floor holding signs representing issues they faced, as 1 woman entered the room wearing the Iraqi flag and holding a banner with the WAB logo. She then reached out to each of the other women to help them stand up as they dropped their signs; in the end, the women were all standing together, symbolizing the eradication of issues by the WAB’s collective efforts.

A group of women, with the front row sitting and others behind them standing, displaying theircertificates.
WAB members and guests came together for a policy formation and advocacy workshop in Erbil to celebrate their progress and to share ideas to further elevate women’s influence in policy-making.
Credits: © National Democratic Institute, Iraq, 2022
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