Empowering Civil Society Organizations in Iraq

Project Summary

Peer knowledge exchange among civil society organizations © UNDP Iraq/2014

The concept of civil society in Iraq faces numerous challenges, including operating in an environment of unconsolidated democracy, instability, and obstructive centralization, coupled with a lack of tolerance and cultural diversity. Persistent security threats severely impede the capacities as well as the role of civil society. Consequently, the performance and impact of civil society organisations (CSOs) tend to be limited and marginalised.

CSOs also lack effective networks between one another, and provide inadequate reporting on their own activities. The lack of government or academic institutions dedicated to studying and monitoring civil society further weakens the development of a nuanced understanding of the mutually reinforcing relationship between civil society and good democratic governance.

The project seeks to empower the civil society to effectively monitor the government’s compliance with due process and transparency by building the capacity of chosen organizations to hold the government accountable in the areas of service delivery, corruption, human rights and civil rights.

The project also contributes to the establishment of sustainable channels of dialogue and partnership between CSOs and the government to iensure that civil society is gathered during policy-making processes.

Finally it works with a consortium of CSOs through training of trainers, aiming to enable an expanded network of civil society organizations.

What we have achieved so far

CSOs projects: Consortium of 31 civil society organizations implemented eight projects in the areas of human rights, corruption and service delivery from May 2013 to April 2014. Covering most governorates of Iraq they help enhance accountability of local services through citizen participation and networking between the civil society and local authorities. This included raising awareness on human rights, particularly on minority rights and promoting better governance through enhanced women participation in the public sphere.

Engagement with the parliament on human rights: In 2012, UNDP facilitated the first meeting between civil society organizations and the parliament in different parts of the country. With 19 representatives of civil society organizations the Council of Representatives launched in January 2015 the NGO Human Rights Advisory Board first of its kind in Iraq. It will assist the parliament's Human Rights Committee to effectively engage with the civil society and promote human rights through the legislative body. 

CSOs capacity development: UNDP provided to CSOs capacity development on project development and project implementation, particularly through training workshops and on-the-job coaching and support.


Partner Agency
Amount in US$
Royal Government of Denmark 2,221,818    


Year                                            Amount in US$
May 2015 235,896.85    
December 2014 724,515.28    
December 2013 1,298,384    
December 2012 198,918    
Project Duration
2012- June 2015
Geographic coverage
Focus Areas
Capacity building, democratic governance
MDG 3, 6
Project Officer
Zeyad Alobaidi
Royal Government of Denmark, Iraqi CSOs, Civil Society Committee in the Parliament, NGOs Directorate
Related Documents
Project Document