The "Good News from Iraq" Television Special to Air

** “Good News from Iraq” television special this weekend! **
Details on the television special are at the end of this posting.

Iraqi-American Haider Ajina sends more unreported Progress Reports from Iraq that you have missed through your mainstream news- via USAID.


Northern Iraq, Tewala Village – A young woman sits in the sewing class in the village of Tewala she says “This is the first time I am able to spend time with other women freely, we like coming here, we now feel like we can have a good future.” (USAID)

ECONOMIC GROWTH

* Provided technical assistance and information on contracting opportunities for Iraqi businesses and entrepreneurs through business centers.

* Worked with the Ministry of Finance to introduce the new Iraqi dinar.

* Created more than 77,000 public works jobs through the National Employment Program.

* Provided technical assistance and capacity building to three private sector banks to develop their own lending programs.

* Trained over 700 Iraqis in International Accounting Practices.

* Assisted in management of $21 million micro-credit program. Provided over 40,000 hours of microfinance training in 2004-2005.


A U.S. airman greets Iraqi children while on patrol. (DefenseLINK)

AGRICULTURE

Improved Date Palm Output: Established date palm nurseries in 13 governorates that will expand Iraqi palm tree population by 410,000 new trees per year.

Enhanced Farmer Output: Provided parts to repair more than 6,300 tractors for Iraqi farmers through international agreements with U.S. farm machinary industry.

Provided Farm Machinery Training & Tools: Trained 28 mechanics in farm machinery repair and supplied tools to help establish private repair businesses.

Increased Olive Tree Population: 18,000 olive trees have been planted in 30 demonstration plots throughout the country.

Rehabilitated Veterinary Clinics: Fifty-one veterinary clinics have been rehabilitated, serving more than 130,000 farmer families.

Crop Production

Seed Improvement: Increased distribution of wheat seed cleaners to 169 for nine NGOs in 18 governorates.

Increased Training: 175 farmers trained in wheat seed cleaning and
treating.


A newly hired Iraqi worker starts his new job at Umm Qasr. (USAID)

Soil & Water Management

Strategy Development: Initiated six-ministry effort to develop the Iraq water and land use strategy.

Grant Provision – Irrigation: Provided small-scale grants that increased canal and water infrastructure improvements on 130,022 hectares of land serving 445,000 Iraqis.

Iraq Held its First International Film Festival

The event, entitled The Sunshine in My Country is More Beautiful than the Darkness, focused on the beauties of Iraq in contrast to its history of war and oppression.

In all, 58 Iraq films and 51 international films from throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the United States were shown during the two-day event.

An inter-ethnic sports club was renovated and reopened through an Iraq Transition Initiative (ITI) grant.
Located in northern Iraq, the club’s directorship had traditionally encouraged positive interaction among religious and ethnic groups. Through the ITI grant, the club is now able to host recreational activities for more than 1,000 males and females of different religious and ethnic backgrounds, restoring opportunities for the district’s young people to participate in sports.

TRANSITION INITIATIVES

* Awarded 4,672 small grants totaling $316 million for quick impact activities that support good governance, civil society, conflict management and mitigation, human rightsand transitional justice.

* Funded 144 grants totaling over $5 million that focus on women’s issues, including supporting the rehabilitation of 46 women’s centers in Iraq. Rehabilitated over 264
Iraqi national ministries, schools, clinics and other municipal buildings. Supporting 65 Iraqi groups in documenting human rights abuses of the Ba’athist regime and promoting peace, tolerance, and reconciliation.

* Met critical needs during and immediately after the conflict by providing short-term employment, restoring basic government and community services, increasing Iraqi access to information and communication and encouraging protection of human rights.


USAID‘s Office of Transition Initiatives grant for $17,850 provides resources, supplies and equipment for facilitation of literacy, tailoring and hair-cutting courses as pictured here. The trainers will also discuss health care and women’s rights during these courses. WADI also has mobile crisis intervention teams; the grant also provides operating support to maintain two mobile women’s health/ social work teams to operate in remote villages around As Sulaymaniyah (As Sulaymaniyah Governorate) Kirkuk (At Tamim Governorate), Arbil (Arbil Governorate) and Mosul.

COMPLETED PROGRAMS

Since the cessation of the 2003 conflict, USAID has completed its planned work at Umm Qasr Seaport, restored significant portions of Iraq’s telecommunications network, rebuilt three major bridges and restored the rail line connecting Umm Qasr with Basra city and points north. USAID also helped avert a humanitarian crisis during the conflict by providing assistance to the United Nations World Food Program. USAID advisors continue to assist with management and distribution of food rations to Iraqi citizens.


A U.S. Marine shares some time with an Iraqi girl. (DefenseLINK)
SEAPORTS

* Th
e $45 million program to rehabilitate and improve management at Umm Qasr seaport was completed in June 2004.
* Port reopened to commercial traffic on June 17, 2003; completed first passenger vessel test July 16, 2003.
* Up to 50 ships offload at the port every month.
* Completed dredging to open all 21 berths to deep-sea ships.
* Applied port tariffs on June 20, 2003.
* Renovated the grain-receiving facility to process 600 MT of grain an hour.
* Renovated the administration building, passenger terminal, customs hall, and electrical substations.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

* Audited more than 1,200 km of the fiber optic backbone network and performed emergency repairs, reconnecting 20
cities and 70 percent of the population.
* Reconstituted Baghdad area phone service by installing switches with 240,000 lines at 12 sites.
* Installed and fully integrated 13 new switches with 14 existing switches.
* Worked with the Ministry of Communications to reactivate more than 215,000 subscriber lines.
* Installed a satellite gateway system at Baghdad’s largest telecom exchange and restored international service.
* Trained telecom engineers and technicians in the operation and maintenance of the satellite gateway system and the
new switches.


Iraqi power station employees outside of Basra. (USAID)

BRIDGES AND ROADS

* Rebuilt three major bridges—Khazir, Tikrit and Al Mat bridges—critical to moving people and commercial products
throughout the country.
* Rebuilt a substantial portion of the Iraqi Republican Railway line connecting Basrah with the port of Umm Qasr including
physical track construction, installing culverts, and repairing gatehouses. The remainder of the work has been
handed over to the Ministry of Transportation (MOT). This work allows shipments of bulk cargo from the port to Baghdad
and throughout the country.

FOOD SECURITY

* Worked directly with the World Food Program (WFP) and Coalition Forces to re-establish the Public Distribution System (PDS) in less than 30 days, avoiding a humanitarian food crisis and providing food security throughout the country.
* With Iraqi food distributors, Food for Peace, the WFP, and Coalition Forces maintained deliveries from June through December 2003 in all 18 governorates.
* Played a key role in an agreement between the WFP, CPA, and the MoT that provided the WFP with the resources and authority to continue to support the PDS through June 2004.
* Completed a rapid food security field assessment from 17 impoverished districts in May 2005 and presented assessment findings in the USAID food security forum in August 2005. Forum participants reviewed data to better understand food security in Iraq and recommended actions to reduce risk among Iraq’s vulnerable populations.

Now, more on the TV Special…

“WINNING IRAQ: THE UNTOLD STORY”
PREVIEW HERE

“Winning Iraq: The Untold Story” tells the good news story from Iraq including societal mood indicators that there are more than twice as many weddings as when Saddam was ruling! Greg Palkot brings you stories of courage and success from Iraqi citizens.

Shown on FOXNews Channel, Saturday Night at 9:00 PM Eastern.

Assorted Babble News has more on the television special.

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