THE WEIR GROUP PLC
AMAR AND THE WEIR GROUP PLC HAVE BEEN WORKING TOGETHER AS PART OF A THREE YEAR PROGRAMME TO DELIVER VITAL HEALTHCARE, EDUCATION AND TRAINING PROJECTS IN AND AROUND THE COMMUNITIES WHERE WEIR OPERATES.
The programme began in 2013 when Weir committed £300,000 to support AMAR’s work for three years to improve health, education and training in Basra Province.
The initial phase of this programme involved assisting female pupils to attend school by refurbishing sanitation facilities in seven schools across Basra Province. Poor sanitation facilities can be a significant barrier to female pupils continuing their education. The project therefore directly promoted access to education through the simple and cost-effective act of providing suitable sanitation facilities, benefitting approximately 5,980 pupils and dozens of teachers on a daily basis.
The second initiative under the programme was the establishment of two education and training centres aimed at widows, female heads of household and vulnerable women in Basra Province. Both centres offer training in IT skills, sewing, design and handicrafts, and hairdressing and beauty, all aimed at providing women with a vital opportunity to learn and practise new skills, increasing their employability and the means by which they can support their families. Between them the two centres deliver 120 training sessions per month and provide training for an average of 160 women every month. Kindergartens have been opened at both centres. Given the prohibitive costs of childcare, the kindergartens allow women with young children to participate in training sessions and develop their employment and earning prospects. The children attending the kindergartens also benefit, being given a mixture of play-based and education-based activities that allow them the opportunity to both play with friends and to learn.
During his speech at the opening event for one of the centres, AMAR’s Regional Manager, Dr Ali Muthanna, said the pioneering programme has been welcomed by women across Iraq, and he is delighted the scheme is underway, adding that “thanks to companies like Weir we are able to keep the women’s training centres going. They are vital as the country continues to develop and emerge from the recent challenging years.”
Commenting on the project, Weir’s Recruitment Officer, Saif Tariq, added “we are delighted to have linked up with AMAR to provide this vital facility. It is a fantastic idea and Weir is right behind this. We feel it is very important to help the communities we work in, and these centres are a brilliant way to do it.”
The third AMAR initiative supported by Weir is a Community Health Education project in Basra. The project is delivered in two strands. Firstly, 20 women from the local community have been trained as Women Health Volunteers (WHV) who conduct regular home health visits in their local areas. Each WHV is responsible for visiting 50 local families. She visits each family at least monthly, so the project reaches a total of 1,000 families every month. Secondly, AMAR is training and supporting 90 teachers from 45 public schools in Basra to deliver health education sessions for their students.
The final aspect of this programme will be launched in October 2015 and will involve providing support classes to Basra school students in order to increase their capacity and desire to pursue engineering study and careers.