Trust Consultancy & Development’s director and deputy director Youssef Al Mustafa and Hassan Jenedie recently went on a fact-finding trip to Erbil and Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan to explore opportunities and find out about the situation for refugees and IDPs.
This is their diary from the trip:
We touched down in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan early in the morning but the temperature was already over 30 degrees celcius and of course it was only going to get hotter throughout the day. Being Syrian and based in Gaziantep, we are used to hot weather but this was our first trip to Erbil and we were hoping that the mountains would give us some relief from the summer heat.We were met at the airport by the manager of SUSCO
Kurdistan, an NGO based in Duhok. The manager Bawar kindly met us at the airport to personally welcome us to Kurdistan and give us a local insight. The trip was kindly facilitated by SUSCO Kurdistan and we are incredibly grateful for the kindness and generosity of the SUSCO team as they accompanied us on our trip around Kurdistan.
Although we were only in Kurdistan for a short time (a week!) we tried to do and see as much as possible. The week was spent travelling between Erbil and Dohuk, visiting various NGOs and organisations working in the region. We also met with two government agencies responsible for aid and aid coordination, The Board of Relief and Humanitarian affairs (BRHA) and The Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC), to discover more about how Kurdistan was working with organisations to manage the humanitarian crises on its doorstep.
Meetings were also held with the representatives and managers of OXFAM, GIZ, GOAL, People in Need, People Aid Organisation (PAO), and UNFPA and its partners (Islamic Relief, Messalah and Qandil). The meetings gave us a better overview of the humanitarian challenges being faced by organisations working in Kurdistan and how Trust could assist organisations in facing these challenges. Many local NGOs are working in the current context for the first time. We discovered that many local NGOs were relatively new to the humanitarian sector and needed to increase their capacity to best respond to the crises taking place. Our fact-finding trip confirmed to us Trust’s services in capacity building and training would be an asset in Kurdistan.
Aside from our formal engagements, we had an enjoyable time in Kurdistan. The region is a growing cosmopolitan part of the Middle East where at least three languages (Kurdish, Arabic and English) can be
heard regularly, sometimes all in the same conversation! Kurdistan is filled with very kind, cooperative and generous people and we were welcomed more warmly than we could have imagined. From our short time in the region we would say that generosity is one of the main characteristics of the people in Kurdistan.
We hope to return soon to continue to build partnerships with organisations with the same goals as ours; to deliver high quality work to the humanitarian and development sector and work towards a bright future in the MENA region.
Authors: Youssef Al Mustafa and Hassan Jenedie are the co-founders of Trust Consultancy & Development