The Polish Center for International Aid (PCPM) carries out projects to boost local economic development in northern Iraq, such as building a department store and helping farmers in Iraq. The new jobs created could significantly improve the living conditions of Iraqis and reduce their need to migrate to Europe.
The activities of PCPM consist of executing development projects i.e. projects that will produce long term results. In federal Iraq, in Tel Kaif near Mosul, the PCPM Center has built a department store on the site of an old marketplace. On the other hand, in Sheihan district, it provided 80 farmers with devices to increase the efficiency of sheep and goat breeding.
The building of the department store came exactly on the site of the Old Bazaar, which consisted of stalls in a very bad technical condition. They were dismantled to make way for a department store. Previously there were simple, makeshift stalls, with no basic infrastructure such as water or electricity.
– Now we are handing over to the local government and residents a fully functional 3-storey building. Interestingly, it will be the tallest and the first building with an elevator in this city. As with all PCPM projects implemented in Iraqi Kurdistan and Federal Iraq, we wanted high quality materials and high functionality from the project, and we succeeded – said PCPM’s Jarosław Zarychta.
– The construction of the market will significantly affect the economic opportunities of many of our residents. It is an incentive for them to stay in our city, and for those who have left to come back. Workplaces are a key factor in determining where to stay, as unemployment in our municipality reaches 70 percent. Building up a market will give a development impulse. We estimate that about 100 Tel Kaif residents will find work directly at the department store, and indirectly — including suppliers, service workers needed to maintain the building — another 100 — said Basim Yaqoub Bello, the mayor of Tel Kaif district.
He noted that when there was a bazaar, merchants entered into contracts with the community, ie they were its employees. Now, however, they are starting to work independently for themselves. – The selection of tenants will be done by a special committee, which will be guided primarily by the criterion of the proposed rent and the activity profile, so that the range of services and the commercial offer will be diversified. It must certainly be tenants who live in Tel Kaif, the mayor emphasized.
He judged that investments such as PCPM’s, improving the quality of service across the area, are an issue that others will strive for. – Many people see that it is possible to develop and transform our city. As a community, we are very grateful to PCPM, Poland and the European Union for providing us with such an important help, which is important not only for the people who will be working there, but also for our entire community – he added.
The shopping pavilion is 1,500 m², the building has 3 floors above ground, there are 30 boutiques for services and trade, as well as a multi-purpose space for the needs of the local community. The land was transferred by the local government, the building is owned and managed by the municipality. He decides on tenants and rents. The building opened in June. The cost of construction amounted to PLN 533 thousand. U.S. DOLLAR.
Another development project of the Polish Center for International Aid is direct support to Iraqi farmers. The local authorities of the Sheihan district selected 80 farms that received equipment from PCPM to increase the efficiency of sheep and goat breeding: milking machines and shearing machines. The selection of farms was made by the local authorities, but the main assumption was the number of animals in the herd – they would be “medium-sized” farms, with herds of more than 100 head.
– We took care of not only the equipment itself, but also the necessary training in their operation, as well as meetings with veterinarians. Each of the farmers took part in appropriate workshops, during which he himself, under the supervision of a specialist, learned the correct use of milking machines and clippers. The value of the entire purchased equipment is $ 99,630 – said PCPM’s Jarosław Zarychta.
He stressed that 80 sets were sent directly to the beneficiaries. – The contract with them states that for the first year they do not have the right to give up or sell this equipment – he emphasized and added that the equipment was selected through a tender, in which the criteria were exaggerated so that it was high would be high-quality equipment.
One of the beneficiaries of the program was farmer Jafar Ibrahim Ismail.
– At the beginning we had some concerns because we had never used such equipment before. Some said sheep would produce less milk. It turned out not to be true. We’ve had lessons before on the proper use of milking machines and clippers so as not to harm the animal, said Jafar Ibrahim Ismail.
– My flock is large, about 200 sheep and goats. The cutting and milking took a long time, we didn’t always have enough hands to do it. Now there is no problem with that. The situation is that I produce the same amount of milk as before, but much faster – he explained and added that now traders come to him and buy the milk directly. – I don’t have to travel alone and lose on intermediaries. With the milking machine we use, we can sell more milk, we have more money,” he added.
– I am very happy with this help and I want to thank everyone who helps us to make a living from breeding – he emphasized.
Thanks to EU funds and the MASAR program – which aims to support local institutions and local authorities – the Polish Center for International Aid supports local authorities, e.g. investments in water infrastructure, developing the capacity to use territorial units and spatial manage planning effectively, and stimulate local economic development (for example, by attracting external investment, stimulating small businesses or creating jobs). Due to insufficient infrastructural development and problems in these areas of life, many Iraqis choose illegal, dangerous migration to Europe, including through Belarus. PCPM Activities Are To Limit It (PAP)