Baghdad Women Association (BWA) was established in 2004 as a response to the suffering of the women of Iraq under the dictatorship and later by foreign occupational forces. The occupation led to the erosion of security in the country as well as a complete disruption of the society. Many women were widowed, their husbands, fathers and other male relatives were lost or killed and they were responsible for the protection, care and support of their children under these difficult circumstances. Rural women and girls were even more vulnerable under these conditions. This had a negative impact on women and young girls some of whom were forced into child marriages. Baghdad Women Association was formed to address the particular way in which women were affected by these events.
BWA's vision: “Our vision as Baghdad Women Association is to combat all forms of violence against women and girls and ensuring legal protection, equality, respect and all human rights for women and girls.”
Their mission: “BWA will work to reduce violence against women and girls by providing all necessary support services to survivors of such violence, advocating for the implementation of appropriate laws, policies and government programmes as well as working to increase women’s political participation through leadership development, knowledge and capacity building.”
In order to develop appropriate strategies for achieving our vision and mission, we identified a set of clear objectives. There are three main objectives.
- To help women to heal from abuse and to provide them with the necessary support.
- To facilitate women’s access to decision-making positions and to develop their leadership capacity.
- To change the thinking and behaviour of decision makers in order to prevent the violation of women’s rights, and to protect and promote the rights of women.
Baghdad Women Association has identified 3 specific programs it focuses on:
1- Support services refers to the help provided to individual women who come to the association and report cases of abuse or a violation of their rights. The women will receive counselling, legal advice and be helped to file cases with the police or through the courts.
Specific objective: To help women to heal from abuse and to provide them with the necessary support.
2- Women’s Leadership Development is a knowledge, skills and capacity building programme that builds on the work already done by BWA. This programme will continue to focus on training women on the constitution, the laws of Iraq as well as providing knowledge about international human rights instruments such as CEDAW.
Specific objective: To facilitate women’s access to decision-making positions and to develop their leadership capacity.
3- Advocacy is the third programme area that BWA will work on. This programme is aimed at changing laws, policies and government programmes which discriminate against women and girls. An important part of advocacy is the documenting of violations as well as reporting on such violations. BWA will document the experiences of women and use opportunities such as Shadow Reporting to bring national and world attention to the plight of Iraq women.
Specific objective: To change the thinking and behaviour of decision makers in order to prevent the violation of women’s rights, and to protect and promote the rights of women.