Shlama Foundation and USAID cooperation yields first group of qualified solar engineers

Alqosh – The new cooperation between aid organization Shlama Foundantion of northern Iraq and USAID has delivered its first results. In the press release issued by Shlama Foundation, the aid organization welcomed the completion of training on solar energy engineering of six certified engineers. The solar engineers will now start working in the renewable energy sector which is a new sector to Iraq but can gain traction because of the chronic electricity shortages the country faces and the abundancy of sun.

Because of the lack of continuous electricity most homes need to supplement the government-provided electricity with generators and personal gas heaters, which emit toxic fumes. The press statement quotes the engineering consultant of the program Faiz Yono, “Harnessing the abundant sun in Iraq to generate clean, quiet and reliable electricity will benefit not just the homeowner, but the whole community. It will make them less dependent on the government for essential services, such as electricity.”

In 2019, U.S. government sponsored NGO USAID announced its New Partnerships Initiative (NPI) aid program. The NPI in Iraq intends to find a more diversified, innovative and local base for humanitarian aid by strengthening capacity and commitment by partnering with local operating networks of community- and faith-based organizations.

The biggest tranches to recipients under USAID’s NPI in Iraq are for International Organization for Migration and Samaritan’s Purse (together $18 million) to support the return and recovery of displaced religious and ethnic minority communities in the Nineveh Plains and Western Nineveh Province. Smaller grants (totalling $4 million) under the NPI are for six local organisations in Northern Iraq to help religious and ethnic minorities recover from the genocide and atrocities perpetrated by ISIS terrorists and destruction brought about by ISIS: Philadelphia Organization for Relief and Development; the Catholic University of Erbil; Top Mountain; Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights; Beth Nahrain Organisation for Woman; and Shlama Foundation.

The grant by USAID to Shlama Foundation includes a pilot project for the new solar engineers to conduct assessments, design specifications and install solar panels on 100 homes, solar water pumps on 30 farms and solar streetlights in community spaces.