Skip to Content

"Now, the children are smily and happy": How child protection services help displaced children move forward in Iraq

Since July 2016, ACTED has been providing child protection services to vulnerable displaced people and host community members in Ninewa governorate through the support of the Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund (IHPF).

This project was initially designed to provide support to children displaced from their homes since 2014 in Zummar and Shikhan districts. However, with the onset of the Mosul crisis, the flexibility of IHPF funding has allowed ACTED to, in consultation with the cluster, refocus its activities and prioritise locations in newly retaken villages north of Mosul, such as Fadhlya and Orta Khrab.

ACTED began working in Fadhlya in December 2016 as the first NGO to begin regular activities in the town.

When ACTED’s team first arrived they realised how children were distressed and highly apprehensive of newcomers.

“You saw a big change between the first time our Child Protection team arrived in Fadhlya and now, because now all the people are open minded and are not scared. Now, the children are smiling and happy,” describes Alan, a Child Protection Unit Team Leader at ACTED.

Michelle, ACTED’s Child Protection Manager went on to explain: “When ACTED first pitched the tent to open the mobile child friendly space, children were scared to join our activities. It was very difficult for them to trust newcomers. We have opened the spaces and introduced new games and music. Step by step, we have seen children start to engage and develop themselves. Music is one of their favorite activities as it was banned over the past two years.”

Between December and March, the behavior of the parents and the children drastically changed. Parents are now engaging in the child friendly space and encouraging children to attend activities. Children come to the child and youth friendly spaces with big smiles on their faces, able to play again, engage in recreational and non-formal education activities.

The IHPF fund facilitated ACTED to adapt to the rapidly changing context and to provide first-line emergency services, including psychosocial support to children affected by the past years of conflict, in hard to reach areas.