Rwanga Foundation conducts various relief and development projects in the sectors of education, minorities, women, environment, and sports in the Kurdistan Region. How many projects has Rwanga Foundation implemented in the last two years?
From September 2013 to December 2015 Rwanga Foundation implemented 78 projects in Kurdistan through which 858,600 beneficiaries were directly supported by Rwanga Foundation in the sectors of Education, Health, Women, Unsupported Minors, Vulnerable Families, Environment, Sports and Scholarships.

Could you brief our readers more on Rwanga Foundation’s current strategic projects? What are the key areas that the Foundation will focus on in 2016?
Rwanga Foundation’s vision is a world where quality education is accessible for all. Our strategic aims are: providing services, building capacity and designing policies. Inspired by these goals, Rwanga Foundation is working on enhancing the abilities of social researchers in Kurdistan high schools to enhance a positive and productive learning environment. A pilot version of the project is being conducted in Erbil governorate in coordination with the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Education and UNICEF. We also are working to promote a culture of volunteerism and a culture of physical education in Kurdistan high schools. For university students we have an intensive program to help them enhance their professional skills. For university graduate students and youth in general we are running the Rwanga Foras web site (which previously was USAID FORAS) in partnership with Silatech organization (silatech.org). The website is the biggest platform in Kurdistan bringing together job seekers and job providers, and also providing e-learning options for job seekers and more features. We are also raising funds to establish a school that can be a model for modern learning which we believe will be unique and prepare students from Kurdistan to compete on an international level.

Kurdistan hosts over 2 million refugees and IDPs. How is Rwanga adapting its programs and approach to account for this?
I want to emphasize that all Rwanga projects and activities, from those targeting high school students (such as helping students think about how to prepare for exams) to projects in which we establish a camp for IDPs, all support our main purpose: to provide people with an environment in which learning processes can be productive. Within this framework and in light of the emergency situation in Iraq and Syria following the attacks by terrorist groups at the beginning of June 2014, Rwanga Foundation was one of the first humanitarian organizations present on the ground. One of the biggest projects implemented by Rwanga Foundation was to establish ‘Rwanga Community’ in Duhok province which is a camp of 3,000 cabins (containers) to accommodate 24,000 IDPs and it includes all the necessary public services and learning facilities such as a school, a library, a computer lab, and an art and music room). In addition, 292,380 Syrian, Yazidi, Christian, Arab and Turkmen refugees as well as Kurdish displaced people were provided with emergency relief food and non-food items including hot meals, bread, water, juice, canned fish, canned beans, baby milk, baby diapers, women’s sanitary napkins, blankets, mattresses, cooking sets, clothes, and shoes. Rwanga Foundation further conducted various successful joint projects with the governments of Germany and the Netherlands, Samaritan’s Purse International Relief, the Italian NGO Music for Peace, Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan Foundation as well as UAE Red Crescent to provide further aid to Iraqi displaced people who had fled to Kurdistan seeking protection and assistance. All these were done with the aim of resettling these families and to help provide a good learning environment for students.

Rwanga Foundation’s vision is a world where quality education is accessible for all. Our strategic aims are: providing services, building capacity and designing policies.

You organized the second Rwanga Annual Awards in Slemani on December 3rd, what is the main purpose of the Rwanga Awards, and in which categories did Rwanga give awards to talented Kurdish youth?
Rwanga Awards is an annual project, which started in 2014, with this being its second year. The main purposes of the Rwanga Awards were to:

  • Explore, discover and identify talented youth in Kurdistan;
  • Encourage and support these youth to further improve their skills, ideas, and projects;
  • Encourage an atmosphere of professional competition among young people;
  • Promote a sense of belongingness and ownership among the youth in Kurdistan;
  • Prevent young people from becoming involved in negative activities such as abusing alcohol, drugs, or being involved in activities related to ideological extremism;
    The main categories of the Rwanga Awards are: Photography, Short Film, Short Story, Scientific Innovation, Solo Musician, Entrepreneurship and Recycling Arts.?