Improving access to basic education for vulnerable children in Iraqi Kurdistan

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support, classroom, vulnerable populations, crisis, French Red Cross, NGO
The French Red Cross has been established in Northern Iraq since 2013 and works closely with the Iraqi Red Crescent on the implementation of multisectoral projects for host populations, internally displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees. AFD is supporting its action via a European Union grant.

Since 2012, the advance of the Islamic State in Iraq and in the Levant has led to massive population displacements in Iraq, and particularly in Kurdistan. Today, the country has over 3.2 million internally displaced persons, i.e. about 10% of its population, and hosts some 230,000 Syrian refugees. This crisis has exacerbated existing tensions and vulnerabilities, which has increased needs for access to essential social services such as health, education and psychosocial support. 

AFD has set out to address the consequences of both the Iraqi crisis and Syrian crisis by launching the SAWA Initiative, to help the affected countries strengthen their resilience and accelerate their recovery. Back in 2014, AFD supported projects led by NGOs directly targeting vulnerable populations.

In 2017, AFD decided to support 4 new projects led by international NGOs, via a European Union grant, for a total amount of EUR 9m. The objective is to strengthen the social resilience of host communities and refugees in  Jordan, Lebanon and Iraqi Kurdistan.


The project led by the French Red Cross will be implemented in the Dohuk Governorate, in the north of Iraqi Kurdistan. It aims to improve access to basic education and well-being at school for displaced Iraqi children, Syrian refugees and host populations. It will:

  • Refurbish 10 schools by rehabilitating infrastructure and purchasing equipment to facilitate teaching and the handling of children;
  • Set up 21 parent-teacher committees to gain a better understanding of the barriers to access to school, and implement a strategy to overcome them;
  • Train 210 teachers and parents in psychosocial support and the prevention of school failure, and set up psychosocial support activities.

A total of 14,700 children will benefit from better access to education in 21 schools.

  • Improvement in the material conditions of education;
  • Reduction in the barriers to schooling and causes of school failure: involvement of teachers and parents in the identification of these barriers, and implementation of micro-projects to provide practical solutions;
  • Improvement in psychosocial care for children both at school and in their families: identification of signs of trauma, support for families, referencing of cases.
Project start date
36 months
Duration of funding
Dohuk Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan
2 000 000
Financing amount
Croix-Rouge française (French Red Cross)

The content of this project information sheet falls under the sole responsibility of the AFD and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the European Union.