We try to hear each voice that would inspire us for sustainable development. We aim to exchange knowledge between communities. Acting as eyes, ears and mouth, we try to find pathways to a better future.

A fresh new start in KRI!

© GIZ/Fabian Schwan-Brandt

Quick Impact Project Beneficiary / Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq

“This shop has saved me and my family from dark thoughts and fear for our future.*”

In 2016 Ibrahim was a peshmerga fighter in Kirkuk in northern Iraq but after an unfortunate incident in the fight where he severely injured devastated his life completely. He lost his eye but this was not the only missing value in his future. ‘Five of my friends were blown to pieces before my eyes,’ he says, ‘And I came home with severe, permanent injuries, no longer able to do my job as a construction worker. Despair doesn’t come close to describing how I felt.’ After long dark days, Ibrahim opened a shop in 2017 where he was selling household goodies. This go-off then was supported by the Qudra Programme through Quick Impact Projects in KRI where The Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs helps disabled war veterans make a new start. Financed by European Union Regional Trust Fund ‘Madad’ and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Quick Impact Projects are guided by community participation and ownership as the essential principles, improves the living conditions of the local and displaced populations residing in host communities in the region. Ibrahim benefited from the first funding cycle of QIPs, ensuring injured, disabled Peshmerga to be socially and economically reintegrated into their communities, their transition into more sustainable livelihoods improved at the individual as well as the household level through starting small businesses (provision of equipment, supplies, livestock, transfer of knowledge). Through this project implemented by GIZ, Ibrahim not only got support to realise his envisioned ideas but he would also be able to establish a sustainable future for himself and his family.

Click here to watch the full video of Ibrahim!

*This story is developed based on the interview of Gabriele Rzepka on GIZ Akzente Magazine, Issue 3/2018

Ahmad and his cat!

Ouzai, a slum in Beirut suburbs, is inhabited by Lebanese, displaced from the South of Lebanon during the war. Already a social hotspot, this area became a designation for vulnerable Syrians who fled their war-torn country. At present, Ouzai hosts both, marginalized Lebanese and Syrian inhabitants, increasing the pressure and pose huge challenges regarding service provisions, particularly garbage and sewage. Ahmad is a 6-year-old Syrian boy residing in Ouzai with his parents and four siblings. Not attending school, Ahmad spends his days playing in the neighbourhood with his fellows. 

During his participation in the community mural project of Qudra, Ahmad shared his story of his arrival in Ouzai when he took care of a neglected stray cat nobody wanted. Touched by the empathy shown by Ahmad, he and his cat were chosen as a motive for the mural by the artists. During the mural painting an intensive exchange took place among participants, parents, artists and volunteers. As one result, Ahmad’s mother then enrolled him and his sister at “Borderless”, a non-profit initiative providing informal education to underprivileged children in Ouzai to prepare their transition to public schools. 

Ahmad now is a proud pupil!

Training: A tool leading to new ways of thinking in municipalities!

Tasneem and Sajedah / Manshiet Bani Hasan Municipality, Jordan

Tasneem and Sajedah are two professionals working in the local administration in Manshyet Bani Hasan, Jordan. Tasneem is responsible for the urban planning unit and Sajedah oversees the financial department. Both took part in the "Strategic Management Training" on March 2018 in Amman. Conducted by the Qudra Programme, Module 4 implemented by AECID, this training aimed providing support to local administrations and civil society in Jordan to promote social cohesion and deliver better services to host communities and Syrian refugees. Qudra was in touch with them chatting about their work, challenges and about the training. They told us about some of the main challenges the municipalities are facing nowadays regarding the provision of services to their citizens; they stressed on the lack of economic resources; they also highlighted the growing pressure on the local services supplies due to the huge arrival of refugees to the host communities. The lack of basic infrastructure is another important challenge and in terms of administration management they identified the need to have more skilled and experienced staff and above all the availability of socioeconomic data as a basis to inform their strategies.

About the training received and the practice carried out all together with other public employees of other municipalities, they valued the concepts they have reinforced to better strategic planning and decision making. For example, to establish clear and attainable goals and be able to identify the priorities considering the citizens in the core of the public decisions. They also value the tools they have been provided with in the field of planning and administrative management, on which they have been able to apply the reality of municipal management. Finally, they share the need to involve the staff of their municipalities in these processes, putting across the concepts and work models that they have practiced these days. This training is including a block of technical assistance and input related to the field of internal control. As a result of these activities, the Municipalities now have their own “Integrated Dashboard” to improve their daily management in the provision of services to their citizens.

Seeking a world with equal opportunities and NO discrimination!

Adel Saltaji / EU Madad Labs Round II Participant / Beirut, Lebanon

“I have always wanted to have a role in enhancing the life conditions of my people, of my country and of the whole world.”

My name is Adel Saltaji. I’m from Syria, currently living in Beirut. I have always wanted to have a role in enhancing the life conditions of my people, of my country and of the whole world. I believe that participating in events to raise the teenagers’ awareness and spotting light on new concepts is essential in creating a strong aware generation who can achieve the most realistic levels of development. Therefore, I started my volunteering journey for the Syria Trust for Development in several schools in Damascus. My point of view was expanded by time and I decided to be a part of the CRS volunteers by volunteering for children, as they were the most vulnerable group. I enjoyed this period to the maximum. By the beginning of 2011, the war conditions affected everything, including the volunteer positions. Instead of focusing on development projects, we were obliged to shift our operations to help the citizens affected by the war. So, regarding the new situation and the huge needs of the displaced people, I worked with the local NGOs and civil entities to scan these needs, list the priorities, and match the largest number of peoples’ needs to the relevant services. I had another experience with two of the UN agencies (WHO and UNHCR), where I’ve learned more about the Syrian community. 

To sum up the past 11 years, I discovered my passion which is “seeking a world with equal opportunities and NO discrimination”. At an early age, I tried to follow this passion in different domains and I concluded that no matter where, when, or who, your passion could also lead to motivation. Now after I had to flee away from Syria to Lebanon, I still believe in the upcoming Syrian generation. The lab was an inspiring space which gave shape to our innovative ideas and turned them into reality. We created a new prototype for young Syrian  refugees in the host communities, to overcome the problem of low retention rate. From drafting a canvas model to learning how to pitch an idea, the innovation lab providing excellent service to every one of us.

I'm a refugee and my aim is to support other young refugees like me.

Yazan Khairi / EU Madad Labs Round II Participant / Beirut, Lebanon

“I'm a refugee and my aim is to support other young refugees like me.

‘I’m a refugee. I am talented and through the SaveTalent application I will be able to show the world my talent. But this is not my only aim, my aim is to support other young refugees like me. There are a lot of talented people out there that are unable to promote themselves. We will help them do.’ This is what Jean-Pierre, one of the participants from the EU Maddad Innovation Lab II said at the final pitching event.

Within the framework of the EU Madad Innovation Lab II on Youth and Digital Innovation, four groups of young people presented their innovative ideas on Thursday, 18 October 2018 in front of a jury in the presence of the European Union Trust Fund Manager Nadim Karkutli, representative from the German Embassy and GIZ at the American University of Beirut.

The groups presented their prototypes among each other and then in front of the jury. The participants graded the projects based on specific criteria. The Jury then made the final decision and announced the winner. All participating groups received funding. Please listen to some of the youth talk about their experience in a report prepared by the Lebanese TV station LBC: LBC REPORT

Financed by the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis and the German Government, the EU Madad Innovation Lab is implemented by GIZ’s Qudra Programme in partnership with Expertise France (EF), with the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and with Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA). Qudra is a multi-donor programme financed by EU Regional Trust Fund MADAD and the German Government. By improving school infrastructure, access to extracurricular activities and vocational skills, and by strengthening social stability, supporting local administrations and facilitating regional dialogue the programme aims to provide long term resilience solutions to both host communities and refugees.

You can also read the press releases published by LEBANON FILES and NNA. (Press releases are in Arabic)

Story by: Heba El Hakeem


Quick Impact Project Beneficiary / Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Diloven proudly presents his new shop, 15 km south of Erbil, Iraq. He offers water, juice and cookies. A farmer selling fresh fruits and vegetable has set up a stand next to his; another one is lined up with gas bottles. All three offer their products to passing vehicles next to the main road leading to Erbil. Diloven is satisfied. After the first two days, he already earned 70,000 IQD (around 50 €) and is excited about his own business. Diloven is one out of seven Peshmerga who benefit from the Qudra Programme’s Module 4 – “Supporting Local Administrations” Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) to improve their livelihoods. The Peshmerga were seriously injured during the fight against the so-called “Islamic State” when a car bomb hit their vehicle. Due to long-term impairment caused by his injury, Diloven’s career as an active Peshmerga is over.

With the new business, he and his family have new perspectives for their future.

Story by Dr. Regina Tauschek

Duaa Almuamar

EU Madad Labs Round II Participant / İstanbul, Turkey

"EU Madad Labs; just a beginning!"

My name is Duaa Almuamar. I’m 24 years old and I currently live in Istanbul. I came from Syria.

I am studying Computer Engineering at the Kocaeli University. My main interest areas are reading, writing, getting to know new cultures, learning new languages and research. 

I am one of the founders of the Syrian Students’ Association at Kocaeli University. I provided Turkish courses to Syrians who wanted to enter university and also worked as a translator at hospitals and public institutions. I also volunteered at The International Middle East Peace Research Center (IMPR)’s projects targeting Syrian refugees.

For me, EU Madad Labs is the first step in terms of technology. Just a beginning!

Sunshine from within

Shapes done by Omar

Psycho-Social Support Counselee from Syr El Deniyye Social Development Centre / Lebanon

"I want to see the sun"

*Omar is a 6 years old Syrian boy who was exposed to violence by his step-father which caused him a severe injury in his head.  Due to injury, Omar lost his sight; he can only see a small percentage through his left eye. He is currently out of school and spends most of his time alone since no school accepted his application because of his sight issue. His father went missing in Syria and they lost contact with him. His mother left him and his siblings and got married again. Omar and his siblings are currently living with their aunt and other cousins in a small room that belongs to a mosque. 

Omar’s aunt started the positive parenting program, and after she knew we have case management services she asked for help for Omar and his siblings. A case worker and a psychologist immediately contacted the aunt and did a home visit to assess the situation. The Psychologist said: “When I first saw him during a home visit I couldn’t but notice his patience and his resilience that can move mountains. A boy his age is supposed to be playing outside, attending school, and simply seeing the world through two eyes. When I informed him about the Psycho-Social Support and counseling sessions, he was ecstatic to hear this. I won’t hide it, I was too, excited about our next meeting and the challenges it will bring”. 

On 19th of February 2019, Omar came to the center with his aunt. He brought the most precious gift: his smile. His aunt told the case worker that he woke up very early in the morning to wake her up and get dressed and he was about to burn himself with the tea due to his overexcitement. Unexpectedly, at the beginning of the counseling session, Omar asked the psychologist to be his assistant and help him build some toy block dreams. Omar said: “I want a car to travel to Australia, a camera to see the bad thieves, stairs next to my house, a gun to threaten bad people trying to hit me, and a jeep to go to school’’. As simple as it can be.

A drawing made by Omar during counselling session.

After a while Omar decided to draw. He started with a rose, some fire and some trees. Later on, he asked the psychologist to draw a sun with orange and yellow. "I want to see the sun" Omar said. - He said it with a big bright smile on his face. Then he wanted to decorate the wall with his drawings and claimed his wish to go home. The next day, his aunt told the psychologist that he came back home and told everyone about the session he had and his excitement to come back again to the center. 

“While waiting for our next session, I have to tell the truth: children are the bravest tutors of resilience in life. They build their dreams with some toy block pieces, they draw their colorful wishes, they accept the unfair pain and they overcome it with a smile. And most importantly, regardless the storms they are confronted to, they find their own sunshine…from within” The psychologist said. 

Through a holistic approach, the case worker responsible for Omar’s case will refer Omar to educational center that deals with children with disabilities to get a decent education and will be working on building the capacity of his aunt to be able to raise Omar and his siblings in a child friendly environment. In addition to this Omar and his aunt will continue the counseling sessions.

*The real name was changed in the story above due to confidentiality reasons.