CANADEM's Humanitarian Response in Iraq

At one point, about 6 million litres of water per day was trucked to over 1 million individuals in and off camp locations, including inside Mosul. The fluid nature of the frontline meant that transit sites and mustering points were set up almost daily. This required timely mobilization of WASH partners and financial resources to ensure displaced communities were provided with emergency lifesaving WASH services.

My secondment to the WASH Cluster in Iraq as a Roving WASH Cluster Coordinator since April 2017, happened at the time when the military operations to retake Mosul from ISIL was at its peak, displacing close to a million people to 19 priority temporary or transit camps in the Ninevah governorate.

The humanitarian and response needs was already stretching existing WASH partners in the country and the WASH Cluster coordination capacity became very limited. Coordinating WASH responses of over 50 WASH actors in such a complex, dynamic and fluid situation, was both challenging and worth the time put in.

After 10 years of working for INGOs in conflict emergencies, epidemic outbreaks and natural disasters in Africa and the Middle East, my secondment to UNICEF Iraq through CANADEM has provided me with an opportunity to explore diplomacy, negotiations, resource advocacy and mapping among UN agencies, INGOs, NGOs and Government partners. The need to harmonize and standardize approaches, scale up best practices based on evidence and deliver timely critical lifesaving WASH services are some experiences that will go a long way in making me a more robust Cluster Coordinator.

Bob (second to the left) with WASH cluster coordinators from national and sub-national levels, and Information Management Officers