For many families, returning home after the war means a struggle to find a stable source of income, since not only their houses, but a lot of businesses and agricultural infrastructure were destroyed during the conflict. Many of them have no resources for rebuilding their livelihoods. We are supporting the returning refugees in Ninewa Plains to restart their farming and other small businesses. Over the last year, we helped dozens of families by providing large scale greenhouses, seeds and tools, we helped dozens of other families to restart their business.
Breadbasket of Iraq
Ninewa Plain in the north of Iraq is one of the most fertile areas in the country. The rule of so called Islamic State had catastrophic consequences for it. Most of the agricultural infrastructure including irrigation systems was destroyed under it, and people returning home must completely rebuild their agricultural businesses. Many are struggling to find money for it. “Agriculture is the main source of income in Ninewa Plain, this is the reason why we are helping mainly small producers and farmers. We have for example distributes seeds and necessary tools,” says Evžen Diviš, Regional Manager of Caritas Czech Republic.
We helped 32 families this way last year, when an average family has six members.
High capacity greenhouses for family businesses
The most important is the production of barley and wheat. Greenhouses bring another opportunity, since cucumbers and other types of vegetables can be produces there. We constructed 25 high capacity greenhouses, which helped 103 farmers to restore their livelihoods and rebuild their farming businesses. We also provided them with high quality seeds, tools and other necessary material. Families thus have not only stable income for themselves, but also new jobs have been created.
"Caritas also helped farmers to gain skills in agriculture best practices through technical trainings," says Muhammed Hammady, head of mission in Caritas Czech Republic in Iraq. "When they completed the training, we distributed livelihood activation grants to successful graduates. This helped them to bring their business ideas into reality and make sustainable income," adds Mr. Hammady.
"We learned how to establish greenhouses and how to use fertilizers efficiently and to farm the corps relevant to the season. I purchased seeds and fertilizer in addition to hand tools needed for the greenhouse," said one of the farmers who received our support.
Helping in urban areas
Apart from helping in rural areas, Caritas Czech Republic supports people in cities so that they can re-start their small businesses. Last year, we supported 30 small and medium sizes enterprises that have the potential to employ more people. 50 small entrepreneurs also received training in business management. Through livelihood activation grants we supported 30 of the most vulnerable families so that they could start or restart their small business.
The project is funded by Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Czech Bishop Conference.
See the full interview with our Head of Mission and with the farmers we supported.