The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Creating Opportunities and Jobs For Young People in Mosul After ISIS

Irbil, Iraq

A full year after ISIS were pushed out of East Mosul, high unemployment and a lack of opportunities, especially for youth under 25, are still hindering recovery in the city. To help transform the lives of hundreds of the most vulnerable young women and men in Mosul, the International Rescue Committee, with investment from One Foundation, has started organising apprenticeships, training and job-matching, and offering grants for new businesses.

A recent IRC assessment conducted with support from the One Foundation estimated unemployment in Mosul to be around 56%, and even higher among young people. Lack of money is also undermining local businesses, many of which shut down while ISIS controlled the city. Many families are still waiting for the return of government salaries, which haven't been paid for three years. The IRC survey also found people didn't have the money to start their own businesses, as well as lacking training opportunities to improve employment opportunities. For those who lived under ISIS, many also need support to build their confidence and skills to help them navigate this new phase of life.

Over the next three years the IRC will help more than 1,000 young people find work or start their own business. The programme will be aimed at young people in both Mosul and surrounding areas, including those who stayed during the conflict, those who have recently returned to the city, and even those from the most damaged parts of the city who continue to be displaced in east Mosul.

Wendy Taeuber, IRC Iraq Country Director, said: "They survived years under ISIS and the dangers of fight to retake the city, but the long journey of recovery is just beginning. Many people are still struggling to get their lives back on track in Mosul. Young people in particular had their education disrupted and were prevented from getting vital work experience. This new programme will help them gain the skills and confidence they now need to find work, support their families, and contribute collectively to rebuilding their communities and beloved city."

The IRC will provide 700 Iraqis with apprenticeships or vocational and skills training, and provide job counselling and job matching support for another 300. The IRC will also provide business grants worth up to $1,500, as well as micro-enterprise training and mentorship to around 230 young people during the life of the project. It is estimated that half of all participants will see a boost to their income within three months of their involvement, and more than two thirds will no longer have to borrow money to make ends meet.

Last year, the IRC provided cash support to nearly 5,000 families displaced in locations outside of Mosul. In December, the IRC also piloted an e-transfer system to improve the distribution of vital cash support for hundreds of vulnerable families in Mosul city.

Over 1 million people were displaced during the nine-month battle to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS. The IRC responded and helped thousands of displaced people throughout the emergency and is now working within the city to support people to rebuild their lives. Apart from the planned livelihood opportunities and cash distributions, the IRC has also opened up safe places for women and girls to come together to take part in activities that help them overcome issues they may be facing, as well as safe places for children and screenings to identify the most vulnerable.

For more information or arrange interviews please contact: Paul Donohoe, International Rescue Committee's Senior Media Officer, Beirut, on or +961 81 757 175.

Further project information

  • One Foundation has provided a key, three year investment for this project.
  • Micro-enterprise training helps equip the young people to run a business. Over nine sessions, the young people will learn how to select a business idea, make a business plan, conduct market research, keep financial records, market products or services, and manage cash flow.
  • Apprenticeships will involve 40 days of work with local businesses and apprentices will receive a stipend of around $8 a day.
  • Skills training will vary depending on what is most needed by the individual youth but could include computer training, electrical and plumbing.
  • Job counselling includes helping young people with CV writing as well as equipping them with skills needed for the work place including time keeping.

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.