Behind-the-scenes: Meet the stabilization team in Mosul
We take you behind the scenes to meet UNDP Iraq’s dedicated team working on stabilization efforts in Mosul.
Since its launch in 2015, UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization has set the stage for Iraq to build forward better through rehabilitation of critical infrastructure and restoration of essential services affected by the conflict with ISIL. To support Iraqis, build back the country, this is done through leveraging localized expertise and talent. Over 95% of the work is contracted through the local private sector, which reduces costs, bolsters local economies, and provides emergency incomes.
We spoke to some of the engineers working in East and West Mosul on how this work has helped them grow personally and professionally.
Meet Ibrahim Tayyar, civil engineer working on Mosul University
‘’This work gives me hope for returning to life after a dark period during ISIL. When people
who are displaced see our reconstruction efforts, they will be encouraged to return to their homes in Mosul,” says 42-year-old Ibrahim Tayyar, a civil engineer. Since 2017, Ibrahim has been working on rehabilitation of Mosul University’s Central Library. “When we started, we could still hear bullets on the west side of Mosul. I love my job as an engineer because we make future better by building facilities that serve our people.”
Before ISIL, the Central Library played an important role in research and literary gatherings in Mosul. It contained over a million books, an electronic library, newspapers, and several academic journals – all burned by ISIL. Once rehabilitated, it will provide students with spaces of diverse options such as, silent, and non-silent reading rooms, meeting halls, a computer
lab and much more. It will have the capacity to host over 1,000 students at once and store
more than 100,000 books.
Meet Sahar Mohanad Yahya, an electrical engineer working on Northern Technical University and Mosul University
“It was scary to hear the fighting while we tried to work. I stayed motivated by thinking of all the families and their children who needed our support to rebuild our city,” says Sahar
Mohanad Yahya, an electrical engineer. On entering a traditionally male-dominated field in Iraq, Sahar had to work hard to create her space. “It was not easy for the contractors, workers, end-user to get instructions from a female engineer. I worked hard to improve my communication skills and they came around eventually,” she says.
Calling on young Iraqi women to follow her lead, “Do not let your circumstances come in your way. Our country needs the energy of young people to rise again. Always remember that countries are not built overnight, you must work diligently and consistently,” says Sahar.
Sahar worked on the recently rehabilitated women’s dorm for Northern Technical University.
The building was used by ISIL as a weapon store, while parts were left vandalized and burnt.
The newly rehabilitated women’s dorm will provide over 250 students with a safe atmosphere to study and live.
Meet Ahmed*, civil engineer working on Ibn Al Atheer hospital
“The work can be very difficult at times based on the type of damage. The reward of stressful weeks of work can be seen when we improve the access to health services for residents of Mosul,” says Ahmed, a civil engineer.
The Ibn Al Atheer hospital was the only specialized pediatric hospital within Ninewa. Even though it was severely damaged during the liberation of Mosul, parts of it still remains
operational. Currently being rehabilitated, the hospital hopes to scale up its operations and quality of services by hiring over 500 medical and 250 administrative staff.
*Name change to protect identity.
Meet Ashraf Abdul Kader Ahmed, Quality control and assurance engineer, working on Al Shifaa complex
“While I move between projects inside Al-Shifaa health complex, many people ask me for medical assistance mistaking me as a health care worker,” says Ashraf Abdul Kader Ahmed. quality assurance engineer. “I am proud to be on this team as we work hard to restore life to the city of Mosul.”
Ashraf’s role focuses on checking the quality of work while also ensuring all safety and health protocols are followed. “This project is crucial as it is helping restore essential health services. Once done, the complex will serve over 3 million people,” he says. Within the Al Shifaa
hospital complex, the rehabilitation of radiology unit and fertility clinic is currently underway.
Meet Hassan Sheikh, engineer, working on health, safety, and environment compliance
“I conduct site visits, mostly unannounced to verify that all our teams are following the required health and safety measures, including our COVID-19 safety guidelines. Dealing with our teams can be tough at times as I have to sometimes reinforce the safety measures,” says Hassan Sheikh who is responsible for health, safety and environment monitoring. “I like that our projects give employment opportunities and support people to be self-sufficient.”
These stabilization efforts in Mosul have been possible due to funding from partners, such as, Germany for Mosul University’s Central Library and Ibn Atheer hospital, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for Al Shifaa complex. Once rehabilitated, the hospitals in Al Shifaa complex will be equipped with support from Australia and the United States Agency for International
To date, through the stabilization programme, over 1,400 hospitals and educational institutions across Iraq have been rehabilitated.