Role of UNICEF in Iraq
In 1984, UNICEF established an office in Iraq. In 1990, following the first Gulf war, UNICEF implemented an emergency programme to meet the humanitarian needs of children and women. Throughout the sanctions era of the 1990s, UNICEF focused on rehabilitating social services, providing life-saving therapeutic feeding to severely malnourished children and assisting the most vulnerable children. In 1997, via the “Oil for Food” programme, UNICEF addressed the deteriorating health situation of children, the increasing number of school drop-outs and the protection of children deprived of care.
From 2003-2008, UNICEF ensured emergency access to water and sanitation, primary health care, nutrition, education and child protection services for millions of children and women affected by extreme violence. In 2009, UNICEF reoriented its country programme to support the Government of Iraq develop child-friendly social policies, modernize its institutions and improve the nationwide delivery of basic services critical to the future survival and development of children.
In 2012-2013 as the conflict in Syria brought 250,000 refugees to the Kurdistan region, UNICEF established water and sanitation, education, health, and child protection services in refugee camps and in host communities.
Since 2014, when internal conflict uprooted millions of Iraqis and placed millions more in need of humanitarian assistance, UNICEF has been working with its partners to meet critical, life -saving needs as well as providing emergency and longer term programmes which support children and families.
UNICEF's Country Office is located in Baghdad. Field Offices are located in Erbil, Dohuk, Baghdad and Basra. UNICEF also maintains a field presence in Sulaymaniyah.
UNICEF's overall goal is to support the Government of Iraq in realizing the rights of all Iraq's children to survival, development, protection and participation, and the creation of an enabling environment to ensure strengthened accountabilities for children with an equity approach. UNICEF works to improve the situation of children in Iraq through key interventions.
Country Programme Action Plan 2016-2019
The Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP) is a four year framework that outlines how UNICEF and the Government of Iraq will work together to improve the situation of Iraqi children. UNICEF’s 2016-2019 CPAP was prepared in full consultation with the Government of Iraq, civil society, members of the international community, and media. In support of the National Development Plan 2013-2017 and the Kurdistan Regional Government's 'Vision 2020', the overall goal of the 2016 - 2019 country programme is to support the Government at national, regional and subnational levels to strengthen basic social service systems to reach the most vulnerable children and women, especially those affected by conflict and displacement.
UNICEF will prioritize support for accelerating access to quality health and nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services that help to reduce newborn, infant and child mortality; support children - particularly girls - to return to school, complete quality primary education and transition to secondary education; protect children and women from violence, abuse and exploitation; and promote adolescent development and participation.
Humanitarian actions are anticipated to contribute to a significant part of UNICEF support in Iraq. UNICEF will also continue to provide coordination for WASH, education, nutrition, and child protection in humanitarian situations.
Whist the country programme will operation nationwide, it will focus on the governorates and districts which have the highest disparities, worst child development indicators, and significant proportion of the population living in situations of vulnerability.
Hamida Ramadhani Lasseko
Ms. Hamida R. Lasseko was appointed the UNICEF Representative in Iraq on 17 January 2019.
Ms. Lasseko brings with her 23 years of dedicated professional technical experience in the development, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of UNICEF’s programmes and operational management. Since October 2015 and until her appointment as the Representative in Iraq, Ms, Lasseko has been the Deputy Representative in UNICEF Iraq where she has been providing overall management and coordination of UNICEF’s development and humanitarian country programmes and operations in Iraq. Prior to her arrival in Iraq in 2015, Ms. Lasseko was the UNICEF Deputy Representative in Damascus, Syria.
She had first joined UNICEF as a national Project Officer based in Kigoma, Tanzania, where she had provided technical guidance and oversight of programming in primary health care and early childhood development for Burundian and Rwandese refugees in Western Tanzania from 1996 to 2001, and later as an Emergency Officer from 2001 to 2005, where she had effectively contributed to the improvement of emergency preparedness and response procedures.
From 2005 to 2007, Ms. Lasseko assumed the position of UNICEF Programme Specialist based in Ampara, Sri Lanka where she led and supervised the UNICEF’s post-Tsunami emergency response programme. From 2007 to 2011, was responsible for the formulation, planning, design, implementation and evaluation of the UNICEF humanitarian and development programmes in her capacity as the Chief of Central Region Zone Office based in UNICEF Kabul, Afghanistan. Ms. Lasseko then assumed the position of UNICEF Chief Field Office for operations in Mogadishu and in Gaalkacyo, Somalia during the period from 2011 to 2013.
Ms. Hamida Lasseko is a national of Tanzania, and holds an advanced degree (Master of Science) in Sociology, Commonwealth Open University, United Kingdom, and an advanced Diploma in Nursing Education, Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.