Global Communities began working in Iraq in June 2003, just two months after the end of Saddam Hussein’s government. The Iraqi people were facing a host of challenges in rebuilding the political, social and economic institutions of their society in recovering from years of conflict.
With funding from USAID, Global Communities is implementing the Governance Strengthening Program (GSP) to help provincial and local governments be more responsive to community needs. The program focuses on institutional strengthening for targeted provincial and local governments, while promoting executive oversight to hold government ministries accountable for improved services. Based on our experience working in Iraq with Community Action Groups (CAGs), the program helps to ensure the involvement of local NGOs and community-based organizations, including a special focus on the participation of women.
Owners of small to medium-sized enterprises and home-owners had traditionally been excluded from mainstream loans and other services and had to turn to local moneylenders who often charged prohibitively high interest rates. With the aim of stimulating the Iraqi economy, Global Communities created the Access to Credit Services Initiative (ACSI), a major development finance program that provides loans to Iraqi entrepreneurs and home-owners to expand their businesses or improve their living conditions. Established in 2003, ACSI provides small, affordable loans to Iraqi individuals who do not otherwise have access to sufficient capital. Families use these loans for home improvement or to expand their small-businesses, thereby improving quality of life; enhancing their financial stability and personal safety, and improving local economies in hundreds of communities across Iraq. Operating in 11 governorates in Iraq – including the cities of Baghdad, Karbala, Najaf and Basra – ACSI has become the largest microfinance program in Iraq.
IMMDF was created in 2004 by Global Communities at the initiative of the United States Government and with the support of Overseas Private Investment Corporation (www.opic.gov), to finance projects of Iraqi private small and medium-size enterprises that generate employment and economic growth in Iraq (SMEs).
IMMDF has been financing SMEs since 2005 with loans received under three long-term credit facilities signed with OPIC in a total amount of US$120 million.
Since 2005, IMMDF has disbursed almost US$ 80 million in 4 to 5-year loans directly to 53 SMEs, at an average of US$ 1,5 million per loan, to finance projects that generated employment and economic growth in Iraq. These loans created or sustained a total of 1,680 direct jobs at those 53 SMEs between 2005 and 2016, in addition to thousands of indirect jobs at their suppliers and clients.
Through its offices in Erbil, Kurdistan, and Amman, Jordan, IMMDF is today the only organisation in Iraq that provides medium and long term financing to private sector SMEs in Iraq.
Global Communities was one of four NGO partners through which the US government provided assistance to Iraqi communities that suffered losses as a result of military operations. By partnering with Iraqi communities and community leaders, Global Communities provided economic and housing assistance through the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund.