Blogs | 27 March 2018 | by Halla Al Mansouri

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Training for Human Security Survey Iraq

Iraqi’s transitional justice process faces a number of challenges, including the protection of both civilians and security forces. Security problems and several forms of violence have claimed many lives and led to a reality of unpredictability and instability. Beyond the obvious tensions that dominate the discourse around the political landscape, there are other profound challenges as it could been seen from the first Human Security Survey (HSS) reports of 2017, such as the need for improvement of Iraq’s economy, trust in the government, overall reconstruction and reconciliation. After the first HSS training and the data collection in three governorates – Kirkuk, Basra and Salahaddin – PAX organised a second training to provide and support the enumerators with knowledge and tools for the next round of data collection in the governorates.

From 12 to 20 March, the Protection of Civilians team of PAX conducted the second successful four-day HSS training for each of the enumerator teams of the Iraqi Al-Amal Association (IAA) and the Iraqi Al-Firdaws Society (IFS) in Beirut, Lebanon. The enumerators were selected from across Salahaddin and Basra governorates respectively and with different backgrounds with a view to ensure diversity in the group. This training was the second for both teams after which they will be conducting the data collection for the HSS in the Basra and Salahaddin governorates. Unfortunately, due to unexpected security developments in Kirkuk since the Kurdish referendum in 2017, the team is not able to conduct the survey in the governorate for the time being.

The objectives of the HSS are in threefold:

  • to increase the understanding of local security dynamics and trends;
  • to enhance the ‘claim-making capacity’ of civilians to identify their priorities and hold security providers and decision makers accountable;
  • to inform evidence-based advocacy that enables international stakeholders to design and implement protection activities that reflect local realities.

This training event aimed to build on this existing capacity, and to provide participants with the tools and techniques they need to conduct the data collection and to meet the challenges of advocacy efforts and raising awareness.

The training started with the team from Salahaddin, existing of 14 active, knowledgeable and engaged participants. During the four days a range of topics were discussed from the purposes of the HSS to best-practices of data collection and random selection of households and respondents, but also ethics and interviewing skills including the challenges of dealing with difficult conversations. The training also contained some practical exercises designed to provide the enumerators with the opportunity to use their experience and put new techniques of best practices to immediate use.

Following to the training of the first team, the enumerators from Basra joined on the fifth day for the meeting in which both teams were able to share their experiences with the HSS in the field, including forward-looking strategies for advocacy. The goal was to meet in an effort to build their shared capacity through the exchange of ideas and experiences, and to establish a community of experienced field researchers with a shared interest in human security. It was an opportunity for the enumerators to compare the 2017 HSS results of the two governorates based on the placemats and reports. Mostly, the teams discussed their next steps after the survey and the results, including sharing and disseminating the reports in their governorate through community engagement gatherings and meetings with officials. A lively dialogue followed, in which the enumerators discussed reaching out to people from different areas and backgrounds in Iraq, from local farmers to governmental key figures. It was clear from the discussions and experiences that there is attention needed to the overall concept of human security within Iraq, and more community exchange meetings are needed to reach out to everyone.

In the following four days, after the meeting with both enumerators teams, PAX continued with a four-day HSS training with the Basra team. Also this team existed of 14 members, who shared their HSS experiences in combination with the training, in order for them to build forward and create more in-depth knowledge and understanding of the HSS and its objectives.

Both teams and their strong will to contribute for a better and more secure future for Iraq, have been an inspiration to the trainers. PAX wishes them good luck with the next round of data collection!

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