Assi Frud started to work with Wadi’s Germian Team in 2003 shortly before the war started. In this article he looks back to the last two decades and the archievements and obstacles he faced.
“We learn from getting older; the peace comes from the decisions we make”.
I have been working with Wadi for more than 18 years. The beginning of my work was not easy since there were lots of obstacles. The government’s routine and regulations were making the job harder. Additionally, other organizations taught people to expect providing basic needs/material help to an extend people were asking for money and other daily life necessities, for them organizations meant money and material goods and nothing more.
So, most of the works at the beginning were on righting those wrong believes and misplaced expectations and making people understand that humans are bigger than waiting for foreign and local aids.
Furthermore, we worked on raising awareness to make people understand that long-term effective initiative is far more important than providing basic humanitarian aid that does not make any long-term changes. Wadi worked on the mindset of the people believing by doing that a whole community will benefit from it later on.
Though, we have provided basic needs for some families when the situation asked for, we tried to convince people to ask for projects that are beneficial for the whole community not just individuals. “When someone is aware, they will decide by themselves and differentiate between rights and wrongs.”
“I am very happy that we achieved our goal. Now people attend our seminars only to receive information and awareness”.
The beginning of Wadi’s work in Germian
In 2003 shortly before Saddam Husseins regime was toppled a huge influx of refugees was expected while the health situation detterioated, thus Wadi created two mobile first aid team for women and children. The teams consisted of a doctor, a nurse, and a social worker each team. They were doing medical tests, treatment and referring the patients to hospitals, when necessary, along with providing basic daily life needs. At the same time, wadi opened a center in Kifri city, opening trainings courses on computer, English language, beauty salon, literacy courses along with opening a library for the women.
Wadi also created a mobile play bus team; consisting of two social workers and a driver. They were visiting the villages daily to play with the children and have a fun time with them.
Tackling Female Genital Mutiliation (FGM)
In 2004, in one of the first aid mobile team visit to one of the villages in Garmyan the team encounter a four-years-old girl who was mutilated and was suffering from severe bleeding. They concluded that FGM in the area is a phenomenon not just one case. Wadi did a survey in 40 villages in Garmyan, met with 1554 women and girls in which 955 of them were mutilated. In some of the village there were no female who was not mutilated.
Wadi officially stared doing survey in Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, Kirkuk, Halabja, Ranya, Qaladze, and Chamchamal areas, confirming that FGM is even higher in some of those areas.
Then, Wadi stared working on combating FGM in the region. Eight mobile teams were created to do health, social, religious awareness on FGM.
Wadi also produced two short movies on the negative effects of FGM, another movie to promote combating FGM and collecting fund for the cause, another movie for the teams to showed to the women villagers.
Wadi also did a three-months training on first aid for 82 beneficiaries in Sarqala and Rzgary districts.
Later on, wadi along with other civil society organizations and institutions collected signature to ban the practice. in 2011, FGM was officially banned by Law Nr. 8 of Combating Domestic Violence in KRI.
Wadi added the law to their awareness-raising seminars in the universities, high schools, cities, districts, sub-districts, and villages.
After campaigning against the practice tirelessly Wadi announced free of FGM villages in Garmyan area, the villages were: Garmka-rash, Say-khalil, Gakol, and Say-Jazhny. Wadi also did projects for them under their own request.
Now, in 2021, Wadi has three running campaigns in Garmyan area; “Keep Kurdistan Green” campaign in 10 schools, Living with FGM program supported by Dutch consulate, and corona campaign.
Lessons of 18 years of work:
- Experience taught us to be more open for different opinions, accept different ideas, criticism and reflect.
- To not rush things, to always work and discus as a group to get better ideas and results.
- Experience taught us to plan for our personal and work lives to be successful.
- When you know how to manage your time, you will be able to deal with problems and make better plans.
- Helping to aware even one member of the society maters since healthy individual ensure healthy society.
- One person can have a positive impact on the whole community.
- Expressing your new and different ideas could make a change.
- Positive thinking will lead to positive changes.
- Experience with Wadi taught me not to rush things because change takes time.
- I have gained a lot of experience on how to deal with raising health awareness especially about FGM, first aid, and mental health.