Employment Program To Emphasize Outreach To Iraqi Women, Youth, Idps And Other Vulnerable Groups

ACDI/VOCA, as part of a consortium led by FHI 360, implemented the Iraq Opportunities Program, or USAID/Foras program. Foras means “opportunity” in Arabic. Launched in February 2013, this two-year economic growth program improved economic opportunities and created employment for Iraqis. In particular, the program targeted youth, women, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other vulnerable populations.

Foras strengthened training of service providers and other employment intermediaries on the supply side of workforce development to improve job-seekers’ skills. On the demand side, Foras ensured that employers at the industrial/sectorial and local levels were part of the solution. Foras provided support to entrepreneurs through training, information-sharing, and access to a pool of grants for the best start-up ideas.

Holistic Approach to Job Creation in Iraq

According to the World Bank, approximately 23 percent of Iraq’s population lives below the poverty line. Only about 38 percent of Iraqi adults are employed. Women and marginalized groups often face limited economic opportunities, and insecurity and violence remain challenges for all Iraqis.

Foras worked in five catchment areas—Baghdad, Basra, Karbala, Najaf, and Erbil—which are dynamic economic hubs with the potential for new jobs and greater economic opportunities. In addition to job fairs and other efforts to link supply and demand, Foras employed internet and mobile technologies to reach a greater number of people, including a web-based portal, its own Facebook page, and a mobile phone registration and alert system.

The web-based portal allows employers and intermediaries to post open positions and job seekers to search for them. In addition to employment information, the portal offers a variety of resources for job seekers, from interview guidelines to choosing the right career path. The mobile phone registration and alert system extends access to those without internet access.

ACDI/VOCA has worked in Iraq since 2003. Learn more about ACDI/VOCA’s work in Iraq.

Updated: 6/14