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News

【Iraq】Two-Year Shelter Upgrade Project Comes to a Close

2020.10.12

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Two years, thousands of person-hours, and 1,493 upgraded shelters later, Peace Winds’ shelter upgrade project came to a close on September 29, 2020. Funded by the U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), this project enhanced the living conditions of Syrian refugee households living across four refugee camps in Erbil Governorate in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).

The unexpected spread of COVID-19 presented a unique challenge to project implementation. The government closed access into the camps when confirmed cases appeared, making it near impossible to monitor the situation within the camps. Lockdowns were imposed restricting staff movement. Although Peace Winds had successfully completed many similar shelter projects in the past, unstable circumstances forced the team to rethink our approach. To protect staff and beneficiaries from the virus, Peace Winds established safety protocols including social distancing and frequent hand sanitizing. Peace Winds also procured face mask supplies and contracted refugees to manufacture masks for distribution. Peace Winds program and engineering staff revised the construction phases and the associated cash-for-work (CfW) payment system to reduce the frequency of close interactions with beneficiaries.

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Peace Winds staff checking finished mask

Peace Winds’ innovative and flexible approach combined with the beneficiaries’ resiliency and determination pushed the project forward through uncertain conditions. Ground that was lost due to erratic delays from March through May was quickly made up in the following months, and all construction supplies were distributed to the beneficiary households by August. Peace Winds engineers oversaw the supply distribution and construction phases, while construction assistants and field monitors ensured each household received proper assistance and payment for laborers.

With all targeted shelters upgraded and cash payments to laborers made, Peace Winds conducted beneficiary satisfaction surveys in the following weeks. 100% of the 692 shelter owners who received assistance in the 2019-2020 project period reported satisfaction with their upgraded homes. 100% of the CfW laborers reported satisfaction with their short-term work opportunities.

Recognizing Peace Winds’ successful, proven approach and leadership in the shelter sector, PRM recently awarded Peace Winds with another cooperative agreement to continue upgrading Syrian refugee shelters in the KRI. This next project also includes improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities and the elderly by installing accessibility additions to homes and camp facilities.

We would like to once again thank PRM for the opportunity to continue making a positive impact for refugees in need. We also thank our supporters for bolstering our efforts and believing in our mission.

Please click below to see the brochure illustrating Peace Winds’ two-year project.

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