Investing in our Planet through Civil Society Initiatives with The Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue

Author: Larsa Imad, Youth Network Coordinator at Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights

A healthy environment is one of the most important pillars in making individuals feel comfortable and in-love with their community. It is not permissible to neglect. Caring for the environment is emblematic of our duties to one another; protecting it is the responsibility of everyone to each other, regardless of culture or religion.

Yazidi, Shabak, Christians, Muslims and Kaka’ie are just a few of the religious groups represented in the Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue (Youth Network). A program that brings together youth from across all of Iraq to lead in developing strong civil society initiatives and promote peaceful coexistence.

For decades mistrust and conflict between the diverse communities in northern-Iraq have been the hallmark of the region. Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights through its diverse programs has engaged in dozens of initiatives providing platforms for community dialogue and practical solutions to local problems.

At the start of this year, we asked members to discuss with each other those issues they would like to focus on. To our surprise members of the Youth Network overwhelmingly decided on the environment as their top priority.

„The greatest responsibility in preserving the environment lies on us as individuals, to preserve its resources for future generations,“   Said one participant.

Since February members of the Youth Network have been actively promoting clean and green initiatives across the region. It began with an awareness campaign to shop owners and patrons in Duhok, Alqosh, Zakho, and Bozan on the harmful impacts of nylon bags. Members provided alternative sustainable paper bags and information on how to best care for their shared community.

Together members of the Youth Network identified the need for shade and greenery in many of their hometowns. So far this year they planted 40 trees near Zargata bridge in Sulaymaniyah, a multiethnic city to the north, and 40 more at the entrance to the Sinuni district in Sinjar, a town in the Nineveh region and the traditional home of the Yazidi people. Together with the cities’ park directorates the Youth Network will care for these plants until they are strong enough to survive on their own.

In celebration of Earth Day, Jiyan Foundation’s Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue is using their cooperative climate projects to promote coexistence in the region and motivate others to join in our common goal of ensuring a clean and healthy environment for everyone.


About the Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue:

The Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue is a joint project between Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights and Wings of Hope Foundation Germany. Established in November 2018. The Youth Network provides young activists in Kurdistan Region and Iraq practical support to civil society projects which promote coexistence and cooperation in the region. Each year the Youth Network hosts equally female and male participants from diverse ethnic and religious groups to carry out civil society initiatives, workshops, and community events. The project is funded by MISEREOR and the Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN).