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Cablegate: Ninewa: Sunni Women's Groups Active and Ready To

VZCZCXRO8698
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2981/01 2481421
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051421Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3206
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002981

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/I, DRL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KWMN SOCI KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: NINEWA: SUNNI WOMEN'S GROUPS ACTIVE AND READY TO
WORK

This is a message from the Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction
Team.

Summary
-------
1. (SBU) Women's group leaders associated with the Iraqi
Islamic Party (IIP), a Sunni Arab political party, in Ninewa
Province told the PRT August 12 that they were dedicated to
making Mosul, Iraq,s second-largest city, a better place to
live for women and children. This cable outlines the
activities of these groups, their funding, membership and
programs. While the leaders of the women's groups used the
meeting as an opportunity to vent their complaints about
Coalition Forces, they also explained the issues facing these
organizations and projects they would like to accomplish in
the future. We will follow up with these groups to find out
more about their political orientation, and to identify areas
where it would be appropriate to help.
Sunni Women in Mosul - Dedicated to the Future
--------------------------------------------- -
2. (SBU) Sunni Women's Groups in Mosul associated with the
Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP) told the PRT Rule of Law Section
August 12 that they were dedicated to making Mosul a safe and
secure city for all Iraqis, specifically women and children.
The women felt that, despite risks to their own safety from
insurgents, raids from security forces, and terrorist acts,
they were making a difference in the lives of many in Mosul.

Groups Are Active in Mosul
--------------------------
3. (SBU) In general, the women's groups in attendance
conducted mostly women's and children's programs. The
functions of some of these organizations overlapped, but
among them they covered a wide range of issues serving a
broad swath of Mosul's Sunni population. While some groups
helped a small number of women (20-30), many groups helped
300 or more families. One group claimed to have provided aid
and assistance to over 40,000 families in Ninewa province
over the past three years.

4. (SBU) Some of the programs the leaders said they supported
were:
- Assistance to families with children with serious
illnesses.

- Programs that targeted high school and college youth with
activities and training, including: sports programs, cultural
awareness, computer training, programs to increase learning
capacity such as speed reading and examination preparation
courses, writing classes, and classes focused on conflict
resolution.

- Vocational training for youth. For example, a carpentry
factory to give youth a means to help support their families,
especially if the father has been killed.

- Aid distribution to thousands of needy families within
Mosul's Sunni community -- especially families with orphan
children and widows.

- Operation of two kindergartens and one private elementary
school.

- Training programs for women, including: literacy classes,
computer training, sewing and knitting classes, hair styling
classes, wedding planning and organization services, lectures
on religion, culture and family issues, classes aimed at
developing "women's roles in society," and issues surrounding
women working alongside men.

Obstacles Block the Way Forward
-------------------------------
5. (SBU) Funding for all of the women's organizations was
exclusively through donations, primarily traditional Islamic
charity. The women complained that security and funding were
major stumbling blocks to their programs. Although the women
spent some time complaining about the actions of "American
Forces," they expressed a halting desire to begin
coordinating with the PRT in the future. One young woman who
conducted sports and community improvement programs asked the
PRT officer whether the United States could help support her
in her work. When the response was positive, she
incredulously pushed further asking, "Really? We hope so."

And There Are Plans...
----------------------
6. (SBU) Despite the security concerns, each of the
organizations had relatively clear plans for future projects,
including: building a cultural center andQibrary for women

BAGHDAD 00002981 002 OF 002


only, increased capacity for aid to widows and orphans,
secure city parks for children, and development of a
vocational training center for youth, among others.

Comment
-------
7. (SBU) It is surprising and impressive that there are so
many women's groups committed to improving the lives of the
Sunni community in Ninewa. While Mosul,s second-largest
group is Kurds, these organizations do not appear to have a
bridge to counterpart organizations in that community.
Although it may take some time to find out the political
leanings of these groups, the leaders are extraordinary
women, continuing their work under dangerous conditions. The
very fact that Sunni women's NGOs are willing to engage with
the PRT is a major step. Although it may take some time and
effort to build enough trust between these organizations and
the PRT to begin effective coordination on projects, we look
forward to engaging these groups regularly.
CROCKER

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