Female bloggers in Iraq gathered in the International Centre for Social Peace in Baghdad to take part in the project “Coexistence”. The project aimed to discuss new recommendations and programs concerning the spread of communal peace and cooperation in the country.
The centre hopes that the training of these young women will positively influence Iraqi society and allow them to increase their online capacities and potential for information sharing, as well as raise awareness of the need to accept and respect others.
Following the near defeat of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq, projects and workshops like these are invaluable in transitioning to the post-ISIS phase and fostering the spread of positive messaging. By doing so, this allows these women to combat extremist narratives and harmful discourse online.
Moreover, with civil society activism increasingly moving to the online sphere, projects like these help Iraqi women to push their own messages of cooperation and unity, filling the vacuum carved out by extremists and those with dangerous agendas.
“I can help them spread culture, tolerance and coexistence in this country. We need this in our country,” said Zahra Salim, a blogger and one of the participants in the project. “We will start talking about these topics, and we will discuss and communicate several ideas through our pages on social media.”
The hope following this project is that these women can train other women to maximise their social media capacities and online presence. While for other participants, they implore other women to take part in these courses and learn new skills.
“I stand with peaceful coexistence,” said Sahad Haider, another participant, “and I advise girls to learn the things we learned today in the course”.