The aim of the project is to make the policy and legislative process in Iraq more representative of the concerns, issues and needs of the Iraqi people and to address the persistent gender inequalities in both policies and political representation in Iraq.
Improving Policy, Service Delivery, Gender Equality, and Responsiveness to Iraqi Citizens
Funded By Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
  • Phase One October 1, 2019 – February 15, 2020
  • Phase Two April 1, 2020 – November 15, 2020
  • Phase Three April 1, 2021 – January 31, 2022

In 2018, The Free Iraq Foundation (IF) received funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to pursue a 3-year project in partnership with Global Partners Governance (GPG, United Kingdom). The project is a direct response to requests for support from senior politicians, officials, parliamentary staff and civil society organizations after the May 2018 elections in Iraq. The aim of the project is to make the policy and legislative process in Iraq more representative of the concerns, issues and needs of the Iraqi people and to address the persistent gender inequalities in both policies and political representation in Iraq. These two goals are being targeted through the four following strategic objectives:

The project seeks to improve

  • the quality and timeliness of policy and legislation emerging from parliament,
  • to address actual needs of citizens at the local level,
  • improve public responsiveness from Iraq’s politicians and institutions, and finally,
  • rectify the shortcomings in gender equality in both policies and political representation.

To achieve the project’s goal, we use a two-fold approach by working with both civil society and the Parliament (deputies and administrative branches of the CoR), to develop mechanisms for outreach, and strengthen the capacities of both sides for meaningful dialogue, and the capacity to engage in a constructive way on issues of priority concern for citizens.

With regards to improving the responsiveness from political decision-makers to issues and concerns from citizens, the project seeks to develop mechanisms for public engagement in the parliamentary decision-making process, that can help improve communication and cooperation between citizens and the Parliament. We address this through consultations and fact-finding with civil society experts and organizations on topics of parliamentary oversight inquiries (for pre- and post-legislation), as well as through connecting citizens with legislators on local service delivery issues via the regional Offices of Parliament (Basra and Nenawah).

Our key beneficiaries and partners in this project are the Iraqi Parliament, – including the parliamentary leadership, MPs, committees and staff, regional CoR Offices (COROs), – as well as civil society organisation (CSOs) and women MPs with a particular focus on newly elected women in Parliament (CoR). To successfully engage our partners in Parliament and in civil society, the project draws on the complementary skills of IF and GPG: It combines the expertise of GPG in working for more than 10 years with the Iraqi Parliament and providing support for political institutions in the MENA region, with IF’s experience and effectiveness of working in partnership with civil society, think tanks and politicians in Iraq, with special regard to equal participation of Iraqi women within Iraqi society and in politics.

The project also has a cross-cutting focus on women’s empowerment, that aims at improving gender equality in both political representation and in Iraqi policies and legislation.

Support to women MPs on issues of political leadership, gender-sensitive legislation and policy-making is being provided through activities aiming at the following outcomes:

  • More prominent role played by women MPs in Parliament through strengthened leadership skills and enhanced knowledge on their roles and responsabilities
  • Enhanced knowledge of legislation, including a better understanding of specific laws and how to work on their gender-perspective
  • Strengthened position of the Women’s Committee in Parliament through capacity-building and its link to the network of women MPs and to UN Women
  • Standard processes for monitoring Iraq’s international commitments (CEDAW and UNSCR 1325), developed by the women’s committee and the women’s network
  • Gender-sensitive analysis a standard within the policy and legislative process
  • Regular and routine cross-committee dialogue, and trusted mechanisms for discussion of legislation, and on priority policy areas for women MPs.
UPDATE 2021: Webinar Nov. 30 – Gender Equality in Legislation and Monitoring the implementation of UNSCR 1325 – two Priorities for Parliament

At the end of Year 3 of the Sida-funded project, “Improving Policy, Service Delivery, Gender Equality and Responsiveness to Iraqi Citizens”, the Iraq Foundation (IF) conducted on Nov. 30, 2021 a webinar to present two Guides on Gender Equality in Legislation, and Monitoring the second National Action Plan (NAP) 1325, that had been designed for Parliament in consultation with women MPs and civic organizations. The presentation was held with new and former women MPs, UN and international organizations, local NGOs and other stakeholders in Iraq, and focused on the need for an active role of women MPs to address the forementioned topics in Parliament.

In the period leading up to the constitution of the new Parliament and its committees, the meeting presented a timely opportunity to identify and discuss key aspects of Gender Equality in Legislation and women’s participation in political processes and decision-making in Iraq, and the related tools and opportunities for MPs to support the implementation of the second NAP 1325.

The rich presentations and discussion at the webinar showed that efforts need to be continued with the new parliament and government to advance the Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda in Iraq, and ensure that legislation is equitable and responsive to gender equality. The consistent interest of the government of Sweden and the international community will be critical factors in achieving these aims.

The webinar was opened by a keynote speech of H.E. the Ambassador of Sweden, Jonas Loven, on behalf of the Swedish Government as donor for the Sida project. His speech was followed by introductions from the Iraqi Government, UNAMI, UN Women, and the former President and Vice President of the Women’s Committee in Parliament (2018-21), who gave their perspectives on gender equality in legislation and the second National Action Plan (NAP) 1325 in Iraq as priorities for the new Parliament. Speakers included Dr. Yousra Karim Mohsen (Director General of Women Empowerment Department of the Council of Ministers), Idah Agba (UNAMI Senior Gender Advisor), Dina Zorba (UN Women Country Director for Iraq and Yemen), Maysoon Al-Saaedi and Intissar Al-Jubori (President and Vice President of the Women’s Committee in Parliament, 2018-21).

By presenting the two guides, the Iraq Foundation raised awareness of stakeholders, especially women MPs, on the role of Parliament to promote both topics. IF also introduced the two Guides as valuable learning resources on ways women MPs can work to advance Gender Equality in Legislation, and how to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the second National Action Plan 1325 by the Iraqi government. The two guides also aim to help institutionalize the practices included in them as working procedures for the new Parliament, especially for the Women’s Committee and other committees concerned with gender equality and the NAP 1325.

1st Narrative Report
2nd Narrative Report
3rd Narrative Report