As most people know, Iraq has been affected by conflict and corruption for decades. Poverty is widespread and about 10 million Iraqis need humanitarian assistance - almost half of them children.
They face a range of challenges including displacement, gaps in education, trauma and threats of sexual violence.
The security situation makes working there difficult and dangerous. But having been there since 2003, we have built up strong partnerships with local groups and communities which helps us navigate some of the risks.
Children in Iraq
Iraq's war-torn recent past has had big impacts on children.
It's estimated that there are 2 million Iraqi children not getting any regular education.
A lot of them are displaced from their homes or separated from their families.
Serious violations of children’s rights are common in Iraq right now, including sexual and gender-based violence – girls are particularly at risk.
What we do in Iraq
A lot of our work in Iraq is done in partnership with local or national NGOs, and includes humanitarian aid, child protection, education support and trauma counselling. We make sure individual children get the help they need, even in hard-to-reach areas.
Our projects focusing on ‘education in emergencies’ (short-term interventions where normal schooling is disrupted) mainly involve establishing summer school programmes.
We also help to refurbish damaged or run-down schools and train teachers.
We emphasise the importance of educating girls, and help improve educational and vocational options for young people who’ve been caught up in conflict or been detained in prison.
We work closely with families and communities, raising awareness of the particular needs and dangers for children. We reunite relatives where possible and help with income-generating activities.
Our work with internally displaced people and refugees in Iraq includes those who are long-term displaced, as well as those who are newly displaced because of armed conflict – for example the 6,000 children and young people fleeing Mosul during the 2016 battle for the city.
By the age of six, Nour had lived through war, fled from her home in the middle of the night and been kidnapped by an armed militia group twice. Now she attends a War Child child-friendly apce in Iraq.
Education in emergencies
Keeping children in education during wars and other emergencies is a life-saving priority for children and their families. That's why we see protecting children’s right to education as a central part of our response to a crisis.