Inspiring Community Participation in Baghdad
9 NISSAN, Baghdad – Word quickly got around in this hardscrabble Baghdad neighborhood that a group of residents – all volunteers – were doing something remarkable. This was 9 Nissan, a Baghdad district until recently known for extrajudicial killings and forced displacements. But today, local residents are leaving the comfort of their homes for a different reason.
A volunteer works with students at a Muthanna school to rehabilitate desks.
With support from the Iraq Community Action Program (ICAP) in Baghdad, a group of volunteers has brought together the knowhow and the equipment to rehabilitate desks at the local school. But that is only half the story. The volunteers, inspired by the example of their neighborhood’s community action group (CAG), have brought along their friends and neighbors, creating a buzz around this grassroots civic effort.
Reflecting on the excitement, participants recently told a visiting group of CAG members and ICAP staff that their experience has created a team spirit among them and fostered a determination to improve their community.
These are key outcomes of an ICAP series of training workshops in volunteer management. Targeted at CAG members, the training module is part of a larger training effort that, since 2008, has wrapped up 699 workshops attended by more than 9,500 trainees.
Now in its third phase, ICAP is USAID’s longest-running community development program in Iraq. It is implemented in Baghdad by IRD.