News: Multi-National Division - Baghdad "Iron Brigade" holds Women's Initiative conference
Story by Pfc. Evan Loyd
By Pfc. Evan Loyd
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division
BAGHDAD – Members of the Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Teams Health and Women's Initiatives group from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, met at Camp Striker, Iraq, Feb. 15, to discuss Iraqi women support programs in the areas of literacy, economics, and health.
This was the first joint Mada'in and Mahmudiyah Women's and Health Initiatives meeting. Workers from the two Qadas south of Baghdad have worked together before but never had the chance to sit down and actually meet to discuss future plans in person.
"This meeting is an important venue for sharing ideas from other areas," said Lt. Col. Michael Mammay, commander of the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery, from Merrimck, N.H. "We can help to define strategies for the future and see what was successful and wasn't previously."
Members discussed the success of the mobile health clinic established through coalition funds in the Mada'in Qada. The clinic currently travels throughout the outlying areas of the Qada to provide medical exams and referrals for additional medical services and prescriptions.
"The clinic makes five trips a week and helps at least fifty people per trip, which is over 250 people served every week," said Stacy Lamon, a senior health advisor for the U.S. State Department's Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Mada'in Qada. "Because of that impact the Iraqi people have really gotten behind this project."
A previous project from the Women's Initiative was included the creation of sewing centers in the Mahmudiyah Qada. At the sewing centers women can gain employment as seamstresses and other marketable skills. These centers also provide a way for the women to come together and share ideas.
"This is an important project which gives the Iraqi women hope," said Mariam Youmarn, an interpreter and worker in the EPRT's Women's Initiative. "Women are getting excited to work and are gaining confidence."
The meeting wasn't just about the previous and future projects; members want to find and cultivate Iraqi ideas from the planning board and into reality, said Lamon.
"We can have all the good ideas in the world, but what we need is to find those local Iraqis with good ideas and give them support they need to bring their ideas about."
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