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Listen: The force of self-awareness in Iraq with Asmaa Ibrahim and Jiyan Foundation

Listen: The force of self-awareness in Iraq with Asmaa Ibrahim and Jiyan Foundation

Jiyan Foundation’s Co-head of Trauma Care & Health Asmaa Ibrahim joins Philippa White to answer questions ranging from how she began training in psychotherapy to the culture and stigma associated with mental health treatment.

Why there is so much trauma in Iraq? How was the war with ISIS so different from the other wars over the years? What is the reality on the ground for women in Iraq?

Today I speak with Asmaa Ibrahim, co-head of Trauma Care and Health at Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights and assistant lecturer at the Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychotraumatology at the University of Duhok in the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq.

We start this conversation by understanding the history and background of the country. Asmaa talks about the stories from when the war broke out in 2014, and what she has heard from the people that she helps. Then she explains what she does to help start the healing process.

Asmaa tells us one of her favorite techniques that she uses to help people heal from trauma. We hear about how children were militarized and educated under ISIS.

We learn what she and Jiyan Foundation are going to do to reintegrate these now-young adults back into society.

During this conversation, Asmaa gives us a brief window into life in Iraq. We talk about the culture and she finishes explaining her anguish but also her hope.

I was left so reflective after this. Talking to people in other places is so important. Perspective is such an incredible thing, and conversations like this bring us all closer together.

There is a lot here. So grab that favorite beverage or throw on those running shoes, and enjoy this conversation with Asmaa.

Listen anywhere you get your podcasts by clicking here.

Windows of Opportunity for Meaningful Engagement of Iraqi Civil Society in Transitional & Restorative Justice Processes

Windows of Opportunity for Meaningful Engagement of Iraqi Civil Society in Transitional & Restorative Justice Processes

A crucial element in building peace is the continued promotion of inclusive and participatory actions on the grassroots level and beyond.

From October 2021 through August 2022 Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights implemented a project whose principal aim was to build capacities of Iraqi civil society organizations (CSOs) to identify and develop inclusive, bottom-up and conflict-sensitive approaches to transitional and restorative justice (TJ/RJ). 

This project, supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), had set the groundwork for broader community-based reconciliation efforts and processes leading to positive peace outcomes. Such processes should diffuse ethnic and religious tensions, facilitate safe return of those still displaced, set the ground for sustainable peace and promote social cohesion and intercommunity harmony. Civil society actors, community leaders, state authorities, and survivors’ groups all have a role to play in this endeavor. These preconditions are to be created through combating conflict drivers including but not limited to hate speech, glorification of violence, revisionist narratives, sectarian and divisive rhetoric in public space.

To make the objective of this project a reality, Jiyan Foundation has worked with NGOs and civil society actors from all components of Iraq’s diverse society to develop innovative ideas that rethink currently taken roads to peace and justice and renew community trust.

Successful actions toward transitional and restorative justice build trust and engage all community members in meaningful decision-making, implementation, and evaluation. With all these considerations in mind, Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights led Iraqi NGOs in generating the following policy recommendations:

  1. Promoting solidarity with and among victims and affected communities across sectarian boundaries
  2. Women’s rights and inclusion through monitoring implementation of second National Action Plan of
    the UN Agenda on women Peace and Security.
  3. Focusing on youth through reach out events and especially social media.
  4. Promoting active citizenship
  5. Miscellaneous peacebuilding and restorative interventions at the local level to strengthen solidarity between communities and combat drivers of conflict.