Amez 5 years strategy and on 2015 priorities


Since the fall of 2010, when Aso college in Kurdistan Region, northern Iraq, opened, Pia Grubb and Katarina Korp active in both operate folk high schools and adult education issues in Kurdistan Region, to spread knowledge about the region at colleges in Sweden. We have accumulated extensive experience as we now want to move on with the important public education and democracy in Kurdistan Region.



Halabja is located in the southeastern part of the Kurdistan Region and is best known for the nerve gas attack Saddam Hussein directed against the city in 1988. Before that Halabja a flourishing culture that gave birth to great poets and writers, as well as a strong female mayor, Adela Khanem, who ruled the city at 1920. 2007, the Ola Lindergård and Katarina Korp courses for young people in Halabja and experienced then what great need of education there is among young adults. Halabja was then worn and still clearly marked by gassed quilts, nearly 20 years after that. The city currently has restored some of the facades but belongs to a region where a large proportion of the population is poorly educated and where there are still many illiterates among the women. This has been a fertile ground for a growing extremism.

We know that the most effective investment you can make in a low skilled society to raise awareness and involvement in the community, it is to educate the women. Since 2011, conducts Awaz Daleni a business in Halabja by the association Amez. Amez offers classes including IT, driving school training, craft courses and literacy instruction. Not least is Amez a meeting place where women meet and talk about their situation and how they can influence it to get more influence in both the family and in society. Awaz Daleni has described how the extremist Islamism in danger strengthened in Halabja and how it gets its breeding ground precisely in the low education and women are constrained in their living situations. The courses at Amez center has led to a clear desire from women themselves about getting further training "for real" and Awaz has therefore initiated a collaboration with eg Us and the organization Woman to woman to start a women's college. Woman to Woman supports today center with organizational and Amez Center, now also supported in part by the regional authorities. Nansen Peace Center in Norway is also in talks about a women's college.

Goals and objectives

Our goal is to work with Amez Center, Woman to woman and Nansen Peace Center develop an adult education center for women in Halabja. A center with both individual courses and longer courses that can simultaneously serve as the venue for a democratic development.

The purpose of this study is to determine the conditions for an extension of the existing operations at Amez. We need to specify the target audience, what types of courses and training are needed, possible and necessary local partners (except Amez), possible forms of a formal education, as well as opportunities to finance such activities.

expected Results

We expect that through the feasibility study can concretize the wishes of Amez Center and the results of our interviews so far that we can do a project description and schedule for an adult education center in Halabja.

The current situation

Amez Center is an activity center for women. The center has been operating since 2005.

Awaz Daleni is the founder of the Centre and she is also its directors.

Between 2005- 2007 was Amez Center located in Slemani. 2007 expanded with summer courses in Halabja. Among other things because of problems with high local costs Slemani Awaz decided to end operations there. With its own resources and on family land sounded Awaz build a house destined for the Centre and since 2011 has Amez now just in Halabja.

In addition Awaz Daleni who owns the center, are currently five young women and a male driver project employees.

The center offers you courses in health and physical education, sewing courses, swimming lessons, literacy courses and driving lessons.

The library has additionally afternoon activities for younger girls of school age.

In some nearby villages hold Amez including sewing courses and literacy courses.

Approximately 120 women aged 13 to 50 years participating in various courses organized by the Centre.

The business is currently funded by grants from the organization Woman to woman and project grants from the State NGO Affairs.


The center already meets a real need. From the women who participate in Amez courses, there have been requests for more formal training and courses on Amez. Courses that can give them access to work.

In our preliminary study, we interviewed people in different functions on how to look at the needs of education for women in Halabja

In conversations with the students at the center and with a group of women who participated in municipal adult education in town was clear a picture of a great need for investment in women's education. Many testified difficulties to complete courses that were previously forced to cancel. You can municipally or privately read up to upper secondary education. But then, other obstacles to, one can not, for example, as a single young woman in Halabja trip to Slemani to attend university there. We also met several young women who talked about post-secondary education they had, but who have not had opportunities to work outside, but had to return to home and family again. When asked about the type of professional courses you wish answered many Child Care courses,

sewing course and start their own courses . They also wanted to have computer and language courses.

In conversation with some women activists and entrepreneurs in Halabja came amounts of training needs presented but also lots of ideas on how you could jointly contribute to meeting those needs. Ideas of an institute for women containing crafts courses, start-up courses, courses in health, music and theater, women's rights, a place where women meet and where ideas are shared.

School Administration Director General in Halabja, Aras Mohamed Mahmoud, expressed needs of professional training in sewing and crafts, hairdresser and start their own courses . He also mentioned the need for training for working with children with special needs.

In a meeting with Governor Arkan Hassan Xafor emerged suggestions on vocational training in hairdressing and sewing and start their own courses.

The governor felt that it will be possible to locally fund the start-up courses when Halabja functions as an autonomous region.

In many conversations, including at a seminar we held in Halabja with participants from many different quarters, highlighted the need to meet around culture. Culture as identity formation.

This reasoning also brought Minister of Culture, Kawa Mahmood. He spoke about the need for civic education, active citizenship. He described a need for a "new Kurdish identity" and said that the work of this requires many actors involved, not just the government but also national and international organizations and even businesses.

Kawa Mahmood described the women in the work as a step towards democracy.

The Minister of Culture was very sympathetic to the idea of combining vocational courses with adult education idea.

The same thinking we met in talks with Taha Barwari, Director of Administration at the State Department in Erbil and Advisor to the Prime Minister N Barzani.

Taha Barwari stressed the importance of culture in the modern fast-growing Kurdish community and demanded the initiative to cultural activities.

On Social Policy, we met the Director General Arif Hito. He informed professional courses administered by the Ministry of Social Affairs. In various parts of Kurdistan are currently six different training center where you give vocational courses. It plans to start such also in Halabja. There is a great need for trained people in many different areas. He gave as an example the need for trained electrician. It currently imports skilled labor. At such an electrician training would Ministry of Social Affairs to stand for premises and equipment and Amez Center staff.

Start your own courses is also a high priority. Ministry of Social Affairs can provide trainers, from a concept called "Know about your business", KAB.

Burhan Arghushi, Director General of the Ministry of Education informed us about the education system and considered it among other things need to start their own and computer courses for women.

Fadhil Omer, director of the NGO- ministry in Erbil, proposed investments in health and economy for women. He described a situation where women in Halabja now gainfully employed at a lesser extent than in other parts of Kurdistan. This is because, according to Fadhil Omer, Islamisation in Halabja region. Nevertheless, he felt that the time was right to education investments now that Halabja gets its own autonomous region.

All these people on the various authorities pointing out Halabja as a particular priority for education initiatives.

Facts about vocational education administered by the KRG

Within the KRG is the three ministries that administer vocational courses and vocational training

Social Affairs and Labor administers vocational courses from 3 months - 1 year for this type of courses require one does not require complete primary school. The organization or individual who wishes to organize courses seeking permission of the Ministry with the course description. Ministry approves and inspects the operations annually, after which the permit may be extended. The courses provide diploma, but does not apply for state employment. Social Affairs and Labor also administers micro-loans, which, however, currently located on the ice when the budget from Baghdad to the KRG held.

The Ministry of Education administers three-year vocational training after finishing primary school, as well as shorter vocational courses. The courses provide eligibility and access to state employment. You can apply for organizing vocational training that private providers. The programs can be funded through student fees or donations, this determines the provider, and the provider may itself appoint teachers. The operations are inspected by the MOE.

Permission is sought at the Ministry, first by the school board of the district which sends the request to Erbil. The permit is reviewed annually after inspection.

Ministry of Higher Education administers vocational courses at academic level.

NGO department is under the Social Affairs and Labor and administers grants for vocational courses conducted in collaboration with an NGO. For these courses is not a finished elementary school and they can vary in length from 3 months to a year. The courses provide in the current situation diploma and the opportunity for private employment, but not state employment. The courses are controlled by the Social Affairs and Labour. All courses at this level are directly administered by the Ministry. The organizer makes a course description approved by the Ministry.

Possible ways forward

To organize courses and training through the MOE might give participants the greatest opportunities after graduation. They can then apply for state employment, which gives them certainty to retirement, etc., but they can also choose to seek private employment. The question, however, is the status of the MOE's courses have with private and international employers. Possibly prefer these companies and institutions courses and programs administered by other than the MOE. Among the young people of Kurdistan, we talked to the MOE's courses generally not high status, but is seen as necessary. If you are looking for a private employment is missing in most cases the security of pensions and other social insurance systems, while this is slowly changing now. Some private companies have introduced pensions for their employees.

Based on our experience with the ASO college where we worked with the MOE, we can conclude that the education system is very square and rigid. There are often conflicts between the MOE in Erbil and education in other regions. Cooperation with this ministry is heavy and slow and it is difficult to get clear answers. Long-term work with the MOE is very difficult.

Courses organized by the Social Affairs and Labor, along with the application for a grant from the NGO Affairs, seems an easier way to go. The downside is that participants do not receive an education that qualifies and the right to seek government employment. The participants in these vocational courses can get the diploma and certificate of course completion. One can seek private appointments with them. In discussions with the Director General of Social Affairs and Labor, Arif Hito, he argued, however, that government employment also is based on the skills needed within the state. If the government programs do not provide the right skills, which today is partly the case, hires sometimes people without state provided education.

At the meeting with the Minister of Culture Kawa Mahmood he offered through its ministry to take an application for a women's college directly to the Council of Ministers for a decision of the Prime Minister. It was a very generous offer, but our concern is then that we will still have the same problems with bureaucracy and inflexibility of the MOE as in our previous experience. Such a school project would need to be administered by the MOE - there is as far as we can see no other way.

We have interviewed everyone we met about which courses they consider necessary for women in Halabja. It is clear that training is needed at all levels. From literacy to university courses. Many women lack basic education and many who could not walk a dead straight road from primary to secondary school and then university, stopped by rigid age barriers. If you are over 23 and do not have connections or money, it seems almost impossible to get into a university education - it is then considered too old. It is also difficult for most women to study in a city other than Halabja, which otherwise might be an option, because women are not allowed to live independently in another city. This means that more training at a higher level needed for women in Halabja, as well as training at the basic level. The most striking thing was that everyone from senior officials and politicians to women themselves, felt that it primarily needed sewing. This may be a reflection of the real limitations on women's opportunities as everyone knows, while when we inquired further could get up to the women themselves would like to see training in starting their own and the nanny, inter alia, Here, we believe that adult education and folk high school practices can play an important role.


adult education  mission is to cover training gaps especially on a basic level and to utilize and strengthen the resource that every individual represents. The women in Halabja represents a tremendous resource for the community, which our meetings with their thoughts, ideas and dreams show. Several women we met who had the opportunity to realize their dreams, have made very important contributions of Halabja.

To develop Amez Center by the various courses integrate public education, culture, democracy and human rights, we see as an important step. This can occur in both the short crafts courses that further vocational courses. It would aim to see himself as an important resource in the community with the opportunity to influence and change.

The practical vocational courses we see that Amez could push through Social Affairs and Labor are as follows:

Start your own courses

The training package in start-up through Social Affairs and Labor called KAB, we want to investigate further. In case you want to use these courses can provide the Ministry course leader.


Awaz has a nanny training and could put up a training curriculum for a course, for example, six months initially. This would apply for money of the NGO Affairs.

Popular Education

In all existing and future courses on Amez center can be through training of leaders and participants bringing in popular education approach to exploit and develop the resources, and strengthen self-confidence and belief in their own capacity. Regular, scheduled element of democracy and human rights should be available in all courses, and concrete stain the daily operations through democracy in practice. How to work with this requires training for staff at Amez.

The organizational form for Amez need to be reviewed, since the activities of the current situation is largely based on enthusiasts work and dedication. One suggestion is that a board and association is formed and that the Board receives continuous training in association knowledge.

Meeting Place and Culture

Amez can be an important meeting place in society for conversation, dialogue, art and culture. Many people we talk to take up art and culture important function in order to rehabilitate, enhance and give hope for the future, as well as dialogue importance for understanding between different groups in multicultural Kurdistan. This can be done in collaboration with various institutions, especially international ones. A collaboration with the Nansen Peace Center and their courses in dialogue provides important tools, as well as collaborations and projects with colleges.

During our visit this time we were advised to meet with representatives of the KRG's women's ministry. This could we never, but we suggest Woman to woman and Awaz contact them and see what they can possibly assist in the development of women's center in Halabja.


Woman to woman currently funding partially Amez center. The building as a center keeps to have Awaz Daleni privately funded, but salaries for Awaz and the five female employees, as well as the driver, funded in large part by Woman to woman. This support will be available until 2015 and then is uncertain.

NGO Ministry has given a three-month project and has recently decided on an additional project support to Amez center. Nor does this support can build long-term, but is very important for the business.

Taha Barwary working on Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani's office as an advisor and vice chairman of the party. At a meeting with him, he was interested in the center, and it is possible to submit a proposal by him to the Prime Minister. With Taha Barwary we talked mainly about the need for cultural activities and to broaden the opportunities to express themselves through art and culture. We see it as a natural development opportunity for women's center in Halabja which already promotes interest in craftsmanship and aesthetic expression.

Nansen Peace Center has visited Amez center and Christiane Seehausen there has generated a dialogue-course which was much appreciated. Nansen Center can help with courses and effort on Amez.

Swedish Institute can support projects focused on culture and media. If you develops these parts at the center is an application to SI relevant.

It is possible to charge tuition fees from participants in the courses. At a meeting of the MOE was given an example that a 3-month course can cost $ 200 per participant. One might imagine that some courses on Amez center may be chargeable, but it should not mean the exclusion of women.

CSR - we will examine which companies in Halabja district that might support the center financially. There are several major companies that have CSR funds to use and we would suggest that Woman to woman with Awaz further investigate this.

Donations from local entrepreneurs and wealthy individuals are another possibility.

Timetable and continuation

On our visit was the term in Iraq. The election took place on 30 April. It was held last fall a choice in the Kurdistan region where they still have not come up with how the government should be transformed. With the election in Iraq complicated the picture further. People now Ministers will in many cases be replaced. Inter alia know the culture minister that he already within a few weeks to resign and his offer to us, we must use very soon, if we want to go that route. A further complicating factor is that Halabja to become a separate district and the newly appointed mayor we met will be replaced again. Except in the case of the Minister of Culture, it is best to wait for the government remodeling so that we know who is going to sit on the items. Since the administration of the KRG is not working very well, it is not certain that the decisions made by a minister or official, comes a new added.

This preliminary study will be followed by a project where we almost go into concrete proposals and timing of the work Amez center. During the summer we will meet Awaz and representatives of Woman to Woman to further advance in this work. The summary we can say at present is that Amez center has had a well-functioning business for women since 2004 and that now is the time to take another step in the development of the center. There are both knowledge for continued development as a major need for proper training. We also met during our meetings of a real political will to develop opportunities for women in Halabja. We will do what we can to take advantage of the willingness and ambition and the desire to exploit his capacity as so many women in Halabja berries.


Amez is in a workshop for Three Days with woman to woman  ( Kvinna till kvinna) in Sulaymanyah, for putting a strategic plan for Amez for the next five years. One of the most important aim of this is establishing a folk high school in Halabja. we also visited Cultural cafe and Emelia tested a bike and rode it, she felt happy to see that project of Cultural cafe for people of Sulaymanyah. In addition here in its library we bought some books for the Amez library.


  • The ministry of Education


  • The Mayor of Halabja


For more information about Halabja visit this website