Last fall, I worked in Baghdad to capture on digital video the achievements of the USAID/Iraq’s National Capacity Development Program – the Agency’s largest project in the country – as the five-year project winds down.
In this age of fast moving information, it’s more and more important that development projects are captured visually to help explain the impact of that work. In Iraq, that presents unique challenges given the weather, moving from government office to government office and even technical issues, such as inconsistent power supply throughout the day.
Working closely with 10 Iraqi ministries and the country’s executive offices, Tatweer – “development” in Arabic, and the informal name of the project – provided the support necessary for Iraq to update and sustain modern public administration practices and systems.
The hope is that ultimately these systems and practices will give Iraq the tools necessary to effectively use its natural resources and human capital towards a prosperous future.
After five years and 105,000 ministry officials provided with training, Iraqis began taking pride in their work, leading the trainings themselves and taking ownership of their departments and offices.
“How do you train 100,000 staff in a few years under these extreme conditions?” Tatweer’s Chief of Party Rick Huntington said. “Our students often have 15 years of experience, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, but haven’t had the chance to modernize their skills in decades. The Iraqi people can’t wait for a gradual improvement in governance, so we have cascaded good skills to more and more staff, like ripples in a pond.”
The video, Iraq: A Partnership for the Future, captures and shares some of the palpable pride witnessed in Iraq. Filmed in various training locations and Iraqi ministries and centers, the video gives a glimpse at the strongest elements of the program, and what ultimately accounts for its success – its advisors, participants and the commitment of the U.S. government to make this worthwhile investment.
As the National Capacity Development Program comes to a close, we look to a peaceful and productive future and partnership with Iraq.