The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded three grants in Umm Qasr, Iraq, based on a list of community priorities established by the new town council. The largest of the grants, $41,000, will enhance the capacity of the town council, providing a pre-fabricated unit of four partitioned rooms, equipped with water, electricity and furniture, for use as interim town council offices.
The grants, provided through the US Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) by the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), will also provide computers and other office equipment, as well as training to develop the council members' leadership skills and increase their knowledge of democratic principles. The grant also provides for technical assistance and materials for better communication with the media and a community newspaper to promote reconciliation and tolerance.
USAID is also awarding a grant of $30,000 to establish a community communications center consisting of several telephones and an Internet server with computers and printers to help in the reunification of families and to increase access to independent information for students and adults alike.
The third grant of $5,000 will provide sports and other recreational activities for the town's youth. Under this grant, USAID will refurbish existing facilities and provide sports equipment and other recreational supplies to keep children occupied.
Earlier this month, USAID approved a grant of $13,000 for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to rehabilitate a secondary school in Umm Qasr. These four grants represent the first OTI grants in Iraq.
The DART is an inter-agency US humanitarian response team deployed by USAID in cooperation with other US agencies including the Department of State and Health and Human Services. OTI's mission is to help local partners advance democratic change in conflict-prone countries, and support community development programs to bridge the gap between emergency relief and long-term sustainable development. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )