To propose projects that are adapted to the needs of communities, it is essential to understand the context in which they live. In our approach, we take into account the local culture, the history of the country and the socio-economic context in which the beneficiaries live. Our close collaboration with local partners helps to facilitate mutual understanding. This presentation of Iraq should give you some idea of the environment in which Omoana, its partners and beneficiaries work.

Iraq in brief:

Form of state: parliamentary republic
President: Abdel Latif Rachid
Geography: West Asian country on the Persian Gulf, bordering Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Capital: Baghdad
Population: 45 million (2022)

A bit of history...

The coup d’état that brought General Abd al-Karim Kassem to power in 1958 marked the end of the Iraqi monarchy and the birth of the republic. Further overthrows in the 1960s enabled the Baath Party to take control of political life. During the 1970s, the Iraqi economy benefited greatly from the rising price of oil resources. However, President Saddam Hussein, in power since 1979, led the country into disastrous conflicts with Iran (1980-1988) and with the international coalition formed to repel Iraqi troops from Kuwait (1991). The repercussions of these wars and the embargo imposed by the United Nations (UN) exacerbated poverty but did not shake Hussein’s dictatorial regime, which engaged in severe repression, particularly against the Kurdish minority. The President was finally overthrown by the American-British intervention in 2003. Despite numerous acts of violence and a climate of persistent tension between the Shiite religious majority and the Sunni minority, initiatives were taken, including the holding of elections, to establish democratic institutions. American troops left Iraq in 2011. The country was then rocked by the creation of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (Daech), before it was driven out of the country in 2017. (World Perspective, 2023)


Occupying most of Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Iraq is a monotonous, semi-desert country with torrid summers. It is only very partially developed through irrigation (wheat, rice, dates, cotton). Sheep farming is the steppes’ only resource. The economy, which is based on oil (production of which is now back at a high level), was disrupted by an embargo from 1990 to 2003, then devastated by the war of 2003 and its aftermath.
Omoana is active in the north of the country, in the Nineveh governorate.

Socio-economic context

Despite the after-effects of two wars, Iraq, one of OPEC’s main oil producers and in possession of the world’s fifth largest reserves, has regained its place as a major crude-exporting country. Oil accounts for 90% of government revenue, around 40% of GDP and the bulk of exports.
While the level of violence remains very high and the population has mobilised en masse to demand an acceleration of reforms aimed at improving basic services and tangible progress in the fight against corruption, the reconstruction of the country has proceeded slowly.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the drop in oil revenues further deteriorated the economic and social situation, leading to another brutal recession in 2020 (-11.3%). The poverty rate (over 22% in 2014 and almost double that in the northern provinces) could rise sharply. However, the social situation remains precarious, with an unemployment rate of over 16% and over 35% for young people. (Larousse, 2023)


Population: 45 million (2022)
Life expectancy at birth: 70 years (2021)
Infant mortality rate: 20% (2022)
Birth rate: 27% (2022)
Urban population: 71% (2022)
Annual inflation: 5% (2022)
Proportion of under-15s: 38% (2022)
Unemployment rate: 14.2% (2021)

Specific context of children

Years of conflict between Iraqi security forces and the EI have devastated the conflict zones. According to UNOCHA’s 2022 Humanitarian Needs Assessment, nearly 664,000 children are at risk of protection. Of these children, 122,000 are living in critical housing with difficulties in accessing essential services (Reliefweb, 2022). The lack of means of subsistence for their families and the COVID-19 epidemic have had a negative impact on their income-generating potential. As a result, children continue to be exposed to the risks of child labour and early marriage.
Around 456,000 children still lack basic civil registration documents and almost 300,000 school-age children do not regularly attend formal or informal education, putting them at increased risk of recruitment by armed groups in the areas where they operate (Children Armed Conflict, 2022). Nearly 37,000 households use various forms of violence as disciplinary measures, affecting 186,000 children. More than 22% of those in need of services to prevent gender-based violence in Iraq are children, with girls aged 9 and over and boys aged 12 and over being the most affected. As a result, psychosocial distress, including stress and anxiety, is the second most frequently reported protection problem for children in Iraq. Approximately 5% of children in need of humanitarian child protection assistance are not at home due to arbitrary detention, while more than 1,000 children remain deprived of their liberty for national security reasons (Reliefweb, 2022). Nineveh governorate remains one of the areas most affected by the Iraq-ISIS conflict. By 31 December 2020, 1,889,154 people had returned to the governorate.