MCCer: No one knows what advice to give on IraqBy Everett J. Thomas Meetinghouse
Among the partner projects MCC supports is an after-school program in Baghdad for 80 students who are learning English. In Mosul, MCC supports a Chaldean convent that is running a shelter for women from all backgrounds.
Alain Epp Weaver, country co-representative for MCC’s Middle East programs, said since the fall of the Baathist regime in Iraq, new organizations have begun forming to meet civil needs.
“We want [any new] civil structure to emerge from the culture,” Weaver said. “Maybe they won’t be NGOs.”
Weaver also said MCC is sensitive about working too closely with mosques in Iraq because of the possibility of violence and because “mosque members may be helped first.”
According to Dula and Weaver, MCC observes a strict code of conduct ascribed for international NGOs. The code requires them to remain neutral in political matters and first build “local capacity.” MCC programs in Jordan serve as a model for any future activity in Iraq.
In the meantime, MCC continues to provide material aid to Iraqis in need. This includes 4,200 relief kits and 24,000 school kits.
The relief kits will be distributed to Iraqis displaced by urban warfare. Some have moved in with family members, and others are living in tents or in the streets.
The school kits will go to children in low-income neighborhoods in Baghdad.
This article was written for Meetinghouse, a group of Mennonite and Brethren in Christ publications.
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