With the exacerbation of the economic crisis caused mainly by the COVID-19 pandemic on the families of low-income and vulnerable groups in the Iraqi society, the role that civil society leaders play in their communities has become increasingly important. These community leaders are now rapidly expanding their humanitarian campaigns in an attempt to reduce the repercussions of the crisis on the locals in their areas.
With that in his mind, ILF Fellow Muhammad Hadi Al-Jabri from Al-Muthanna Governorate, Deputy Director of the Vision Center for Innovation and Development and the leader of volunteering teams there, strived to organize a vast network of volunteers to deliver food and aid to the families affected by the lockdown imposed by local authorities to combat the spread of the pandemic. The team faced multiple challenges, such as the risk of getting infected, the difficulty in passing through security checkpoints established for the purpose of curfew, and the struggle to secure funds to ensure the sustainability of the campaign.
During a webinar within the Iraq Leadership Fellows program, Muhammad spoke about the experience he had with this campaign and said: “In our organization, we always rely on the volunteering teams of youth. We worked in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure that low-income families in the city center receive necessary aid. Later on, we became aware that there is a large group of affected families who live in the districts of the governorate and its far outskirts. Therefore, we put out a call for more volunteers, and we were surprised that our volunteering network greatly expanded to over 500 volunteers working day and night tirelessly in preparing food baskets and delivering them to families in need all over Al-Muthana.”