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Human Security Survey (HSS) Iraq

The Human Security Survey (HSS) is a survey methodology developed by PAX which includes a series of complementary activities, including population-based research, community engagement, and advocacy. The intended purpose is threefold:

1. to increase the understanding of local human security experiences, perceptions, and trends

2. to enhance the ‘claim-making capacity’ of civilians to identify local protection priorities and hold security providers and authorities to account

3. to inform the design and implementation of effective protection policies through evidence-based advocacy at local and international levels.

PAX currently implements the HSS in South Sudan and Iraq.

The theory underlying the HSS is that by expanding the voice and agency of civilians on the protection issues that affect them every day, security policies and how they are implemented will be more reflective of and responsive to local needs, priorities, and capacities. In order to achieve this, the HSS generates both data and dialogue. PAX and its partners conduct large-scale quantitative research about the nature of security threats facing civilians, and the impact this has on their daily lives and their expectations for the future. We then bring the research findings back to local communities to create or leverage opportunities for regular people to engage in constructive dialogue with key authorities from local government, security forces, religious and social institutions, local armed groups, and civil society about civilian security priorities.

At the international level, the HSS also provides a means of influencing the policymaking efforts of diplomats and troop contributors active in these environments by providing valuable first-hand information about the realities facing conflict-affected populations. By continuing this cycle over multiple years, PAX and its partners can track trends and work to effect more sustainable change. The survey itself is therefore best seen as a means to an end, with the ultimate aim to facilitate more effective protection of civilians in the contexts in which we work.

Here are some details about the HSS in Iraq:

  • PAX works in close collaboration with two respected local partners: the Iraqi Al-Amal Association and the Iraqi Al-Firdaws Society.
  • We conducted surveys across Basra and Kirkuk and Salahaddin governorates in 2017
  • So far, more than 2200 respondents have shared with us their experiences, perceptions, and hopes for the future
  • We trained 43 enumerators and supervisors to serve on our first two data collection teams, and will expand our pool of experts in the future. Participants receive extensive instruction in research ethics, listening skills, gender sensitivity, and digital security best practices
  • In November 2017 a series of community engagement activities has been implemented by the Iraqi Al Firdaws Society. In total, 2000 pamphlets detailing core survey findings have been distributed, 16 community dialogues focusing on local security issues took place, and 30 advocacy visits were made to a variety of governmental and non-governmental agencies
  • Another round of surveys is planned in Basra and Salahaddin during spring 2018.

We look forward to sharing more updates on our efforts and the products of our research here. For questions and comments please be in touch with Carrie Huisman.


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