non-governmental organizations build capacity.”36 The Secretary also announced the formation of a “U.S.-Iraq Women’s Network” (USIWN). Iraqi women’s issues and women’s programs have also received an indeterminable amount of funding through other Iraqi reconstruction funds, targeting women in education, local governance, healthcare, and civil society.
Overview of Reconstruction Programs
Since April 2003, USAID has implemented a number of programs targeting women in governance. Some of these initiatives have been managed under the auspices of the Iraq Local Governance Program (LGP), a program intended to provide a foundation for Iraq’s transition to democracy. According to the Research Triangle Institute (RTI International), which has been contracted to work in this sector, the LGP has attempted to deal with the obstacles presented by Iraqi culture to women in governance. The Iraqi Women in Local Governance Group (IWLGG) has been established in order to “enhance the political participation of women through civic education and training and monitoring the progress of female participation in each local government.” 37
The LGP also supports and funds initiatives bylocal women’s groups to develop their own NGOs, civil society organizations, and professional associations. A major component of the project, according to USAID, is to facilitate the participation of women in city councils. Through this program, USAID has held a number of workshops for women throughout Iraq, specifically in cities such as Arbil, Hillah, Karbala, and Baghdad. At these conferences, “international and local participants discuss issues such as Islam, democracy, oppression of women, women’s rights and participation in future elections.” 38
USAID has supported accelerated learning programs that are specifically targeted toward girls’ education. These programs are intended to provide girls with life skills and the academic background necessary to return to formal schooling. A USAID report discussing reconstruction accomplishments in March 2004, indicates that USAID has rehabilitated 2,351 schools and trained over 32,000 teachers and education administrative workers. The report indicates that these efforts, “have resulted in children returning to school. Notably, female attendance has surpassed male attendance, and overall attendance during exam week was 97 percent.” 39
In trying to encourage the work of NGOs in Iraq, the CPA has worked with USAID in order to build the organizational capacity of NGOs targeting women through training and other assistance programs. Some U.S.-based NGOs have
36 “Secretary of State Colin L. Powell To Announce Iraqi Women’s Democracy Initiative and Creation of the U.S.-Iraq Women’s Network,” March 8, 2004, [http://www.state.gov/ r/pa/prs/ps/2004/30223.htm].
Information provided to CRS by the Research Triangle Institute, March 2004. Ibid.
39 “USAID accomplishments in Iraq Mar 2003 to Mar 2004,” March 18, 2004, [http://wwww.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/s/CEC16D9F9A47731085256E5C0056EE14].