Chamber Trade Sweden has been involved in Iraq for the past two years working with and through the chambers in Kurdistan and the Private Sector Development Centre.
Iraq mentorship programs
Starting off the mentorship programs in Iraq meant spending time on introducing the concept and the gain of being involved in mentorship. Now there are 6 groups of mentors/mentees currently in the program ranging from 2 to 7 mentor couples in each group. Not only mentees, mentors, chambers and other partners are involving themselves into the mentorship program – some of the Iraqi TV channels are also showing interest (Kurdsat and Kurdistan TV) covering the meetings and especially a kick-off held on May 18th.
To further increase the output and results for the mentor groups a number of seminars have been arranged. For example on May 28th – on the legal perspective for business. Two more are planned for the duration of the mentorship programme period focusing on Business & Financial management and one on Environmental challenges.
We have had a lot of interest (still growing) from various government agencies as well as larger companies and experts based in Kurdistan and Bagdad. There is a clearly expressed wish to meet with experts and possible mentors from Sweden in order to exchange both knowledge, business practices and possible projects and joint investments between Iraq and Sweden.
Based on the wants and needs – both from the Iraqi side and the Swedish- CTS are now setting up a specific ”Green mentorship” with 13 mentees from Iraq. This targeted action will create a platform for further exchange and long-term business development. The matching is set to take place in Sweden in August or September (depending on the visa process).
To further strengthen the awareness and network CTS is participating in two conferences in cooperation with the new Minister for Environment in Iraq. One in Alabjcha with a focus on the effects of chemical weapons (in November 2015) and the other one on how NGO´s focusing on environmental issues can influence and part-take in the decision-making process in Kurdistan (in the spring of 2016).
Through-out the project in Iraq CTS has worked through a Triple Helix model encompassing the environmental issues and involving the government, private sector and universities. Together the representatives are leading a change process in Iraq on how to include environmental issues, legal restrictions (and opportunities) and setting the action going forward.
Nigar Ibrahim, Project manager