Community Information Centres Serve Impacted Communities in Mosul: IOM
Mosul – After nearly three years under ISIL control – and a nine-month long battle to retake the city – the people of Mosul, including displaced persons returning to their homes, are struggling to access services.
To assist the people of Mosul, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in cooperation with the Government of Iraq, and humanitarian partners have set up mobile Community Information Centres (CICs).
The CICs operate out of mobile caravans that visit neighbourhoods in Mosul twice weekly. The centres are open to everyone and provide essential information and referrals to services offered by local government and humanitarian organizations including health, legal, employment and livelihoods.
The centres aim to serve large numbers of people, particularly in hard to reach areas, where access to services is hindered by distance, lack of means or lack of security. The centres track requests and services provided, and aim to improve their services based on identified needs and gaps.
“As many Mosul residents return to their areas following displacement, they have a variety of needs, and require information on where to access services,” said IOM CIC staff member Yasmin Rezaq. “The CIC can advise and refer those in need who come to us seeking services. Information is key to recovery for people rebuilding their lives in Mosul.”
“People often request help drafting lease agreements, negotiating with landlords, inheritance issues, land registration, seeking compensation for destroyed property, locating original title deeds, and settling disputes such as forced evictions,” said Nadia Hardman, a Project Manager with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) whose lawyers
provide information and legal counselling in the centres. “Through information and legal counselling, the CICs serve as a communication channel to the communities.”
“I heard from my neighbours about the Community Information Centre… that they facilitate many issues,” said Mohammed Al-Turki from Al-Tahrir district of Mosul. “I asked for help to sort out my marriage certificate which was not completed because of the difficulties we were facing while our area was controlled by ISIL. NRC provided me with legal advice and took my case to court. They even covered the cost of the paperwork and photographs that I needed, so I will have my family documents as well as the marriage certificate soon.”
While Mosul was under ISIL control, Al-Turki got married and became the father of two children. However, he chose not to go to ISIL courts for birth certificates or to register the marriage. He, along with many others in the city, now need to obtain official documents.
The CICs welcome more than 20 visitors per day in the East Mosul neighbourhood of Al-Tahrir neighbourhood and West Mosul neighbourhood of Wadi Hajar. Since the CICs began operations at the beginning of 2018, nearly 300 individuals have visited the centres.
When Iraqi security forces recaptured east Mosul in December 2016, Noora Hamid and her family were displaced for over a month, living in a camp. When they returned they found their house damaged by the conflict and looted.
“One day when I asked a friend about how to find a source of income, someone directed me to the Community Information Centres,” Hamid said. “Later, I received a business package from IOM to run my small home-based bakery. I’m very grateful for the help, which included an oven, a freezer, mincer, saj for baking bread, gas canister and a generator.”
“These centres play a critical role in helping people, when they need guidance,” added Al-Turki. “The thousands who return to Mosul are exhausted after spending months in harsh conditions during displacement. They are often unemployed, have financial difficulties and have no idea how to handle their paperwork, medical issues, legal cases and so on. These centres are essential for meeting their information needs,” he added.
According to IOM Iraq’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), more than a million people were displaced from Mosul district due to the conflict with ISIL, which ended in the summer of 2017.
For more information on displacement across Iraq, visit the IOM Iraq DTM Portal: http://iraqdtm.iom.int
Click here to watch a video about the Community Information Centres.
For more information please contact Sandra Black in IOM Iraq, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org