What We Do?


Refugees and internally displaced persons experience loss of not only personal property, but the security of social ties and community trust. The process of emigrating to a new community leaves many people vulnerable. Accessing vital services and legal assistance can be extremely difficulty, be it because of language barriers, lack of information or discrimination. We seek to support and protect resettled refugees from Syria and Iran as well as internally displaced persons from all of Iraq. As of 2006 CDO has worked in partnership with UNHCR to implement the Protection Assistance and Reintegration project (PARC). This project is intended for UNHCR’s persons of concern and involves all measures of protection. Critical parts of the programme are registration and obtaining documentation as well as security, well-being and access to livelihoods. Accordingly, legal assistance is offered free of charge and referrals are made to providers of other basic services such as housing, schools and health clinics including psychological facilities. Attention is paid to difficulties encountered based on age, gender, religion and ethnicity. CDO’s protection efforts includes regular visits to families in the host communities to monitor their needs and provide support where needed....

Basic Services

Both in emergency situations and following resettlement availability of basic services is vital. These include the very basic means of living that are indispensible for subsistence. In terms of emergency response CDO regularly carries out distributions of core relief items including food, household equipment and clothes. These distributions are made available for both residents of the two Arbat camps located outside of Sulaymaniyah and in the host communities of the province. They vary according to seasons striving to equip refugees and IDPs for the harsh and quick changes between summer and winter. Furthermore, our quick impact projects deal with health care, education, livelihoods, construction and renovation and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in host communities. Ensuring that displacement does not cause major disruptions, and that people remain healthy and able to endure the hardship of migrating is of utmost importance to CDO....


Women’s rights are often institutionally undermined by law or custom causing women, more often than men, to suffer from economic, political and social inferiority. Working towards a more equal society involves raising awareness about what women’s rights entail. CDO holds community meetings for women and men, and trainings for among others social workers, organisations working in shelters for women and with women in prisons and for public employees such as prosecutors and police officers. Advancing information on the rigidness of gender roles highlights the need for alternatives to keep women safe and self-reliant. We especially focus on helping and preventing honour killings, self-immolation and self-harm. Gender based violence is of serious concern and necessitates counselling for women and education for all on the detrimental consequences. Moreover, we work to encourage female participation in leadership and political life. CDO’s department for women has responded to a local need for protecting and empowering women....

Children and Youth

In the years reserved for development and learning children and adolescents in conflict areas experience damaging interruptions in their upbringing. Conflict leaves children and youth vulnerable to trauma, exploitation and violence. CDO aim to bring children back into school to maintain normality in their lives, ensure future opportunities and stimulate social skills. We negotiate with schools to enrol more students despite already crowded classrooms and language barriers. Projects are carried out to build the capacity of children, provide educational materials and educational sessions. CDO are in direct contact with families to advise parents to make sure their children are in school rather than working in order to maintain family stability. Various health related, psychological and creative projects are offered to children and youth as a means of preventing trauma and helping them to cope with transitions in a healthy manner....

Human Rights

The people of Iraq have seen multiple wars and civil unrest both directly affecting the population and surrounding it. The divides between ethnicities, tribes and political and religious groups are causing tensions and subverting human rights. Minorities are caught between these tensions and persecuted for their differing beliefs and origins. CDO has provided detailed analyses and recommendations to government and advocated for alterations in discriminative policies. In addition, we have done much to investigate and highlight the plight of disabled persons and advocate for their human rights. This is imperative as a large number of individuals have been disabled due to a variety of harmful weapons being employed during in conflict. Moreover, CDO has taken significant initiative to further women’s rights and labour rights by urging for policy amendments. Our human rights campaigns are centred on fostering policy that brings dignity to disadvantaged groups....

Democracy Promotion

An inclusionary society calls for a truly democratic system. With a large number of marginalised and vulnerable persons it is crucial that democratic processes are in place to ensure all voices are heard. CDO encourages people to engage in civil dialogue and create awareness around the essence of democracy. We have long taken part in electoral monitoring, and we have held trainings on electoral awareness and election campaigns. Moreover, CDO has provided government officials with training on democracy awareness and on means of tackling corruption. Through introducing and bolstering knowledge of democracy CDO prioritise equal representation and social equality....

Capacity Building

We do not work on our own. We cooperate with a wide range of
international organisations and NGOs. CDO is therefore in a unique
position to share its experiences with local NGOs. We do so with the
ambition of strengthening civil society because we believe strong NGOs
are needed to protect the marginalised and advocate for a fairer
society. CDO has held numerous training courses relating to NGO
development and professionalisation. They have dealt with general issues
that are necessary for strong civil society namely human rights,
gender, democracy, constitution, conflict mitigation and political
participation. Moreover, training courses have been conducted on
organisational topics such as proposal and report writing, fundraising,
project management, advocacy, organisational planning, transparency and
monitoring and evaluation.

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