Hello from Jordan! I have been working at the United Nations Development Program-Iraq Office, which is based in Amman, for about a month now. Within the office, I am working on a fairly new initiative that has been developed in the past year. It began when UNDP partnered with the Iraq Knowledge Network to publish new household survey information. With these new statistics, UNDP saw that it needed to be more active in some governorates that had high poverty levels. UNDP conducted an analysis and determined that Qadissiyah and Muthanna Governorates in the south of Iraq had the highest poverty levels and the least access to public services. In Qadissiyah, 35% of the population lives below the national poverty line, and in Muthanna, 49% of the population lives below the national poverty line; however, nationally, 23% live below the poverty line. Before I arrived, UNDP worked with the Governorates to conduct needs assessments, and the Governorates presented areas they would like to strengthen.
At the moment, I am working on a presentation for the Governorates to offer a number of proposals on how UNDP can assist the Governorates in the identified areas in both the short-term and the long-term. Some proposals focus on governance and capacity building.
For example, one suggestion is to conduct a functional review. This is an assessment that determines where departments or sections within the Governorate are not operating efficiently. In addition to assessing the internal structure and process, it also assesses how the Governorates interact with the Central Government and identifies areas that could be improved. Some proposals focus on economic development. One suggestion here is to conduct a local economic assessment to determine which industries in the region should be targeted for growth. This proposal fits with UNDP’s other work which focuses on strengthening the private sector and on job generation. Lastly, some proposals focus on the national and local relationship where there is some ambiguity about which branch has what rights and responsibilities.
This has been a great opportunity to see how a long-term project is developed. Ultimately, the project is scheduled to be active for three years; however, because there are short-term components as well, I will be involved in some aspects of implementation. Next week, UNDP will present the proposals to the Governorates at a workshop and get the Governorates’ feedback.
I am really looking forward to it and to the whole process. If you have an interest in looking at more of UNDP-Iraq’s projects, the website is: http://www.iq.undp.org/. I have also really enjoyed exploring Jordan in my time off and am looking forward to more this weekend!