Shop owners working in the city’s economic hubs say their sales have increased and more businesses have opened since the lights were restored.
and lights are restored, civil servants need capacity building and support to enforce safety measures and respond to communities’ needs. Since 2019, Al Rashad+ has partnered with local councils to train more than 6,000 Internal Security Force officers in community policing techniques, transitioning former military men and women to different roles. “This is where the role of the community se- curity program is important because we try to work with them on prioritizing their security needs and concerns, and then we empower their security providers to provide and address those needs and gaps,” says Jihan Diwan, Al Rashad+’s Deputy Chief of Party. The streetlight installation, for instance, was a direct response to a request made by local authorities in Raqqa. Combining material work with capacity building in a community-led, holistic approach to security makes the work sustainable even in a conflict zone. The program has also been critical in support- ing the security forces as they responded to COVID-19, organizing awareness campaigns on best practices to prevent the spread and pro- viding more than 800,000 pieces of personal protective equipment. Al Rashad+ emphasizes women’s security concerns. The project has trained 580 female officers and has opened three women’s policing centers, where female Internal Security Forces officers respond to crimes against women. Streams in the desert In an environment as fragile as Syria’s, water scarcity is a critical facet of the country’s hu- manitarian crisis.
breaks out, local governments ready for change have created an opening for programs to begin rebuilding a region torn by war. After unimaginable loss and destruction, it is easy to ask: Where do we start? Local part- nerships that meet immediate needs form the beginning of an answer. Three projects – FURAT+, Al Rashad+ and the Agriculture and Livelihoods Stabilization Program – implemented by Creative are col- laborating with local authorities, civil councils, Syrian-led civil society organizations and busi- nesses to bring back basic services. Working specifically in Raqqa City and the surrounding province of Deir ez-Zor, Creative’s projects are addressing security, infrastructure needs, water and agriculture, bringing tangible relief in both rural and urban contexts. “The heart of all this is that even though we cannot end the war, we can make people’s lives better,” says Richard Jaskot, Director of Cre- ative’s Stabilization and Development Practice Area. “We can let people in these communities know that we care about them and work to bring some normalcy and sanity back to their daily lives.” Lights, security, action In October 2020, a dark street in Raqqa flooded with light. For the first time in more than five years, streetlights illuminated places once nearly impossible to navigate at night for fear of crime. These lights were the latest of more than 4,700 lights installed by Al Rashad+, funded by the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and the German Federal Foreign Office. The programworks to bring back basic security
Al-Rashad+ has trained 580 female officers and has opened three women’s policing centers, two in Raqqa and one in Deir ez-Zor.
services to the Northeast. Spread along more than 56 miles of roads, these lights are reviving commerce in the city as residents report feel- ing safer going out at night. “The streetlights have made it significantly saf- er for both civilians and businesses in import- ant parts of the city, signaling new growth in Raqqa,” says Manal Chafik, Al Rashad+’s Chief of Party. Al Rashad+’s work is also designed to bolster the human component of stabilization work: the police and security forces. As rubble is removed
Photos by Judy Abdulhakim Ismail (top, bottom); Al Rashad Staff (center)
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