Situated in the heart of the Middle East with a diverse population and rich history, Iraq has built a democratic society from the ground up. Beginning in 2003, IRI Iraq has supported citizen-led efforts to increase political participation and ensure a more responsive, accountable political system. To accomplish this, programs focus on engaging with activists and civil society organizations (CSOs) to educate citizens, coaching political candidates and political parties, and encouraging civil society and independent researchers to press for increased government accountability.

Over the past several years, IRI Iraq has trained and mentored a network of activists to constructively engage their communities around a series of pressing social and political issues. IRI provides discussion facilitation skills to activists as they organize regular discussions with interested citizens. These dialogues emphasize information related to voter registration and participation.

To promote civic education topics like voter registration, IRI partners with a national network of CSOs (at least one CSO per governorate). As the CSOs implement civic education campaigns, IRI trains these organizations in strategic planning, strategic communications, and donor compliance. CSOs lead social media campaigns (new Facebook pages and campaigns) as well as local events and meetings (concerts, soccer matches, and marathons), with an emphasis on inclusion of youth and women.  

IRI works with a range of established, independent, and emerging political candidates and parties in Iraq.  Because political participation is a long-term endeavor, experts train these political actors in party organization and structure, fundraising, platform and message development, and get out the vote.  As newly trained candidates and parties competed in the 2021 electoral cycle, IRI continues to engage and mentor former candidates in the post-election and government period.

IRI supports CSOs to increase the information integrity of the Iraqi political conversation. Several CSOs use digital platforms to flag false or misleading political information and to rigorously fact check, while other CSOs promote digital literacy at the local level, especially among youth, to build longer-term resilience.

Finally, in concert with a network of independent researchers and think tanks, IRI works to better understand failures of accountability within the Iraq government and to propose reforms as the new government is formed across 2021-2022.

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