It is time to leave Gawilan camp in Iraq

Hassen, Hameed, Ali,  and Virginia, have all been working in Gawilan Camp for the past year, implementing a project aiming to improve the living conditions of Syrian refugees through a water and sanitation project. They are reminiscing about their proudest achievements and strongest memories of working in the camp.

The team of the syrian refugees camp Gawilan

Gawilan, a syrian refugees camp in Iraqi Kurdistan

It is time to leave Gawilan, the syrian refugees camp in Iraq. Première Urgence Internationale’s involvement in Gawilan Camp started in 2013 and it was the first project ever implemented in Iraqi Kurdistan.

In 2017, Première Urgence Internationale has kept improving the water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and infrastructure for its 8,400 inhabitants. But the teams are now ready to leave the syrian refugees camp and handover the facilities. Ali, Hameed, Hassen and Virginia, all participated in implementing numerous essential activities, such as distribution of water tanks and water heaters, creation of a waste removal system, rehabilitation of water channels, rehabilitation of cesspools and septic tanks, among others.

It “always made the people very happy”

Asked about their most memorable achievement, the team explains to be satisfied with all the distributions implemented, because it “always made the people very happy”, Ali explains. Then, Hameed considers as their most significant activity the rehabilitation of the open channels, which put an end to the water stagnation and smells on the camp’s main roads.

Hassen underlines that the strongest point of Première Urgence Internationale’s intervention has been to continuously adapt to the needs and to listen to what the refugees are missing. This was amplified by the fact that some of the staff has been living, or still lives in the camp, as for example Ali and Hassen. They know what could be improved, and are able to communicate their ideas so Première Urgence Internationale finds solutions.

The team agrees Première Urgence Internationale is leaving the syran refugees camp after lastingly improving the living conditions of the syrian refugees. Ali underlines the house-building, the provision of hot water and installation of doors for each plot, which are all sustainable changes benefiting every person in Gawilan. It is important that Première Urgence Internationale has been progressively preparing its departure from the camp, giving responsibilities step-by-step to the families.

A road in theSyrian refugees camp Gawilan

To engage and empower the community

The only negative aspect would be that Première Urgence Internationale was one of the only NGOs providing work opportunities in the camp by hiring daily workers for all of its activities. In total, around 1,500 Syrian refugees from the camp were hired. The recruitment was done through a fair process, giving those most in need of financial support the opportunity to earn a small income. This will be missed by the inhabitants of the camp.

In the last two years of project, Première Urgence Internationale has made a priority to engage and empower the community in the syrian refugees camp. The teams have stopped small maintenance activities at household level and instead, have implemented a tool-loan service, provided materials as well as organized trainings for men and women in the camp on how to make repairs and improvements in their own living spaces.

Then, in order to ensure every individual’s right to privacy, Première Urgence Internationale built 850 doors which were distributed to the families. They did the installation by themselves, under the team’s supervision. Ali, Hameed and Hassen are proud to say that people are now able to take care of their own infrastructure, as well as the collective ones.

Reflecting on the whole project, Ali, Hameed and Hassen are all satisfied with the work accomplished and the quality of the services delivered.

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