On July 29, 2019, a Handover ceremony was held at the Ministry of Interior’s Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC) to give twenty new livelihood projects to the injured veteran Peshmerga with the presence of H.E. Rebar Ahmed, Minister of Interior, Ms. Clarisse Pazstory, EU Representative in Erbil, Ms. Barbara Wolf, Consul General of Germany in Erbil, Mr. Thomas Schaef, GIZ Country Director in Iraq and representatives of Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs and other partners.
In the beginning of the ceremony, Mr. Hoshang Mohamed, the Director General of the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC), on behalf of the JCC and the project implementing committee warmly welcomed the distinguished guests to the ceremony and he thanked GIZ for the cooperation and support throughout the implementation of the project, hoped that the second phase of the project more similar projects be implemented to benefit more injured Peshmerga.
In his opening remarks, H.E. Minister Rebar, on behalf of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the people of Kurdistan, extended thanks to the European Union and the German Government for providing funding to the Qudra Programme, especially this project to support the injured Peshmerga.
Minister Reber stated “The Peshmerga heroes and internal security forces in Kurdistan paid huge sacrifices in the fight against ISIS in defending not only the people of Kurdistan but also in defending the entire world with the support of the coalition.” Adding that “this project is very valuable not only economically that helps injured Peshmerga to secure the livelihood for their families but it also helps them to reintegrate into the communities and overcome isolation and psychologically relief and feel mental security and peace.”
Minister of interior asked for the continuation and expansion of the project in its second phase so that bigger number of the handicap and injured Peshmerga of the ISIS war can benefit from the project and providing them with job opportunity.
He also expressed the Ministry’s full support for the Qudra Programme, pledging that the Ministry will provide all assistance and facilitation so that the second phase of the programme be implemented successfully in the interest of all vulnerable IDPs, Syrian refugees, and the host communities in the Kurdistan Region, especially injured Peshmerga.
Ms. Clarisse, the EU Representative in Erbil in her speech commended the role of the Peshmerga forces in the fight against ISIS terrorists, whom with the support of the US-led Coalition were able to “destroy this evil enemy on the battlefield and kept their families, communities in Kurdistan and Iraq safe. She stressed that through Qudra Programme, the EU helps the people directly through building small scale infrastructure and jobs, improving the lives of IDPs, refugees and host community alike. Finally, she highlighted the role of the women who supported these Peshmerga during the battle and after being injured for years and stated ‘these women are also the heroes’ who has supported and cared their injured husband and children in a very difficult times.
Then, Ms. Barbara Wolf, Consul General of Germany in Erbil highlighted the support and assistance that Germany has provided to the Peshmerga and the displaced people and host communities through different programmes since the outbreak of the crisis. She reiterated that Germany will continue its efforts to support the Peshmerga forces and the displaced people and host communities in Kurdistan and Iraq. She also thanked the JCC for the effective coordination and cooperation on the implementation of different programmes with German agencies in Kurdistan.
On behalf of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs, Major General Qaraman Sheikh Kamal, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, expressed thanks and gratitude for the Qudra Programme implementing partners for supporting injured Peshmerga. He hoped that the Programme would continue and expand to include a bigger number of wounded Peshmerga veterans.
From his side, the Country Director of GIZ, stressed on the importance of good coordination and cooperation between all the implementing partners. He expressed his gratitude for the support they are providing IDPs, refugees and the host communities.
Through the QUDRA program 27 Peshmerga (7 in 2018 and 20 in 2019) have been supported through the creation of new livelihood opportunities to support their families and overcome the psychological stress. These Peshmerga were injured during the battle with the ISIS in the last four years. They have had a hard time to rebuild their lives since they mostly live on small pensions which hardly could cover their medical expenses. The total number of the 27 family members who directly benefit from these quick impact projects are 145 individuals. In the 1st funding cycle (2016-2017): seven families consisted of (43 persons) were supported in Erbil Governorate and the project is expanded in the 3rd funding cycle (2018-19) in which included 20 families of the injured veteran Peshmerga consisted of (102 persons) in Erbil, Duhok, Slemani, and Halabja Governorates.
The aim of these quick impact projects is to improving the economic livelihood of these veteran Peshmerga and their families, the establishment of the businesses have had a positive impact soon after opening economically. At the same time, as the Peshmerga are engaged in their businesses, they no longer spend all day dwelling on their depressing situation. Three Peshmerga beneficiaries attended the ceremony testified that these project have hugely helped them to recover from depression and reintegrate into communities and also enabled them to take care of their families and provide for their loved ones. Thus, their quality of life has changed and hugely improved with these quick impact projects.
The project is directly implemented by a joint committee formed from the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC) and Health Unit at the Ministry of Peshmerga and GIZ and offices of Crisis Response at the Governorates in Kurdistan.
The Qudra Programme is a regional project, financed by the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis (the 'Madad' Fund) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), seeking to strengthen resilience for Syrian refugees, IDPs and host communities in response to the Syrian and Iraqi crises. The programme is jointly implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Expertise France (EF), Spanish Agency for International Development (AECID) and Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA) in programme partner countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Together, they are providing support through QUDRA, an Arabic word meaning ‘strength, ‘ability’ or ‘resilience.’