SEED Foundation President and Executive Director Sherri Kraham Talabany and Salahaddin University President Jawhar Fattah Saeed signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at Salahaddin University in Erbil on June 9 to implement the program ‘Protecting and Empowering Survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI)’, a collaboration with the university’s social work department. This program is generously supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
The program aims to build the next generation of social workers in the KRI by equipping undergraduate students in social work with the knowledge and skills to support vulnerable people, including survivors of GBV violence and those at risk. Additionally, the project aims to prepare graduate students at the Department of Social Work for employment opportunities in social work in the KRI.
Kraham Talabany thanked President Saeed and the university for their critical role in preparing the next generation of social workers. She said that SEED believes investing in higher education is a critical way to address the capacity needs in Kurdistan in responding to the needs of the population and the decades of violence and conflict the region has experienced.
On his part, Saeed elaborated on Salahaddin University’s vision and collaboration with international organizations and educational institutions, while stressing the importance of social work. He praised SEED for supporting the education and development of social workers in the KRI. Saeed stated that social workers must be prepared to support all age groups, starting from early childhood, throughout the KRI. He also affirmed the urgent need for social workers to receive training and capacity development support on gender issues, including responding to GBV.