Years of conflict, corruption and negligence have left major portions of Iraq's infrastructure in ruins. Once home to some of the earliest known civilizations, Iraq bore witness to ongoing instability and sabotage. This has stalled many efforts to rebuild the economy. Many governments over the years have struggled to maintain order, leaving the country to enjoy only brief periods of respite from high levels of sectarian violence. Since 1992, Shelter For Life has worked on numerous humanitarian and public infrastructure projects. This has included building comprehensive water systems, road rehabilitation, shelter and settlement services, as well as health and vocational training.



A Comprehensive Water Project for Soran Town

The Problem: Within northern Iraq, water issues are paramount with chronic problems of increasing demand and impossibly difficult supplies. In the early 2000’s Soran District in particular was flooded with returnees from Iran, placing great stress on water resources. Many families were generally unaware of how their behavior affects the environment and hence the linkages between poor health and pollution were rarely understood, leading to poor health practices and outcomes. SFL provided emergency services to over 5,250 people over 2004-2005, but longer term plans were required.

The Solution: To address the major water issues in Soran, our team initiated a comprehensive and sustainable water solution project that sought to provide a permanent, reliable and clean source of water to the families of Soran Town. This involved construction of large-scale water systems, including pipelines, pump systems, water tanks, and establishing school awareness programs about public health.

The Impact: 165,000 individuals provided sustainable access to water; 130 schools provided training in water catchment pollution and safe rubbish disposal

Funder: U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM)
Duration: 2006-2007


Shelter Assistance for Refugees in Northern Iraq

The Problem: One of the most urgent priorities of the returning population in Erbil Governorate is their access to housing. Many of these families have lived in Iran for almost 20 years and then returned from 1998 to 2002, frequently under force from the Iranian Authorities.  Since 1998 the economic situation has remained so poor that no savings have been generated.  In turn, returnee families have faced the impossibility of building their own homes. 

The Solution: To reduce homelessness and increase community capacity in the Soran District of Northern Iraq, our team implemented a life-sustaining shelter intervention that utilized aims to fill the gap created in the repatriation and reintergration process of the returnees and enhance the construction skills of returnee communities. This involved the construction of functional, durable, starter homes; generating opportunities for community development and planning; and vocational and health awareness training.

The Impact: 140 returnee families (528 people) provided with starter homes; 50 community members provided short-term employment; 75 individuals provided vocational and health awareness training.

Funder: U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM)
Duration: 2006


Rubbish Collection Initiative in Erbil Govenorate

The Problem: In five districts in northern Erbil Governorate, employment opportunities were scarce in the early 2000’s. Waste management practices were either non-existent or underutilized. As a result, many families in the region struggled to provide for themselves and were at a higher risk of developing health issues.

The Solution: To address issues of employment and sanitation in the region, our team facilitated the creation of employment opportunities in waste collection (utilizing tractors and trailers); waste management at municipal sites; waste supervision and management; uniform manufacturing; and community education programs focusing on reducing the habit of un-thoughtful litter and rubbish dumping.

The Impact: 499 individuals provided short-term employment; 60 schools trained in rubbish disposal and social responsibility; 1,300 bins distributed to communities; 1,221 tools (shovels, brooms, wheelbarrows etc.) distributed to communities

Funder: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Duration: 2005