The British Council Iraq is running the Active Citizens Programme in Iraq for the first time. Active Citizens are individuals across the world who wants to make a difference in their communities. The British Council Iraq is working with 2 local partners – civil society organisations - to develop and deliver the Active Citizens programme in Baghdad focusing on amplifying youth voice and participation. 6 Iraqi facilitators have been trained to guide groups of 120 young people, with significant participation of females, to design and implement Social Action Projects in their communities to improve the well-being of women and girls.

It has been noticed how the programme, even at the very early stages, has given the participants different ideas about creating change. They learned how change starts inside them first and to consider the importance of dialogue in order to change a community. This new experience enhanced their good will and seriousness in helping others, and supported them to find their path towards making a difference in people’s lives. The Active Citizens Programme has been a turning point in the participants’ lives. One of them said: “On day one, when I joined the workshop, I thought I would have nothing to give. By the last day, I discovered buried skills I have and how I can be of great value to help others and change their lives positively”.

Another participant said: “I learned that having different opinions is not wrong, we see things differently but we can try to reach our targets in many ways, the most important thing is a shared purpose to achieve our goals”.These Active Citizens have designed and will implement projects to benefit the women and girls in their communities. Some of them will have the opportunity to visit other communities around the globe to share what they learnt and cascade their knowledge to their peers.