ILO and UNICEF collaborate to support vulnerable youth in Iraq to develop skills and transition from training to decent employment, with support from the Government of the Netherlands

26 January 2021

BAGHDAD, 26 January 2021- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Iraq are working together to help young forcibly displaced persons and host community members develop skills and transition from training to decent employment.

The two agencies, with support from the Dutch government, as part of the Partnership for improving prospects for forcibly displaced persons and host communities (PROSPECTS), will coordinate an approach that seeks to transition young people into employment and economic opportunities by directly linking youth aged 18 - 24 who are enrolled in UNICEF-supported skills-building services in youth centres under the Directorate of Youth in Dohuk with ILO-supported employment service centres run by the governorate’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Under this programme, some of  the most vulnerable youth, girls and boys, are taught life, digital and entrepreneurship skills that are in demand in today’s employment market. They will then have  access to employment services, and be referred to on-the-job training that will further boost their skills to access paid employment or self-employment.

The majority (eight out of every ten) forcibly displaced persons have been living in Iraq for at least five years, with minimal if any realistic chances of returning home soon. The programme aims to equip the youth among them with the necessary skills to make a living and better integrate into the wider community.

“This ambitious and innovative project aims to improve the employability of youth in Iraq and promote a smoother learning-to-work transition. The aim is to help young people find work in a difficult job market. UNICEF is looking forward to working closely with its partner, ILO, to help young people have better opportunities and a better future” explained Ms Paula Bulancea, Acting UNICEF Representative in Iraq.

Once youth complete the skills-development sessions, they will be provided with needed career guidance and job-matching services that will connect them with potential employers. The initiative will also link youth  interested in starting their own business with the ILO’s advanced entrepreneurship and financial literacy training programmes and provide them with access to banks and financial institutions, to set up their own businesses. In addition, the ILO will coordinate with local private sector actors to accelerate the “learning to earning” approach of the program.

“Ensuring forcibly displaced persons and host community members have access to more and better decent jobs is critical and we are happy to be working closely with UNICEF under PROSPECTS to support young job-seekers and entrepreneurs to improve their skills using the ILO’s well established and tested training tools as well as through financial services and other employment support,” said Maha Kattaa, ILO Country Coordinator for Iraq.

The goal is also to broaden the partnership to other parts of Iraq. UNICEF and ILO plan to expand their partnership and programmes to other parts of Iraq.  This collaboration  is part of the agencies’ joint efforts under the PROSPECTS Partnership, to promote protection and inclusion, learning, skills development, as well as access to financial and economic opportunities for forcibly displaced persons and host community members.

PROSPECTS is a strategic four-year global partnership, that supports host communities and displaced populations in eight countries across East and North Africa and the Arab States and which also includes the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank (WB) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

About ILO

As a specialised United Nations agency, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) works to promote social justice and internationally recognised human and labour rights. As the only tripartite UN agency, the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers to promote decent work in different parts of the world, as well as develop labour standards and policies.

For more information about the ILO and its work, visit

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Tel: +9647827820238
Nisreen Bathish
Communications Consultant
International Labour Organization (ILO)
Tel: 00-44-75555-03579


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