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Psycho-Social Support and Women’s Center

In August 2014, the Islamic State abducted thousands of Yazidi women and girls, who were subjected to rape, violence, forced conversions to Islam, and married to ISIS militants. These atrocious acts were part of an attempt of the Islamic State to eliminate Yazidi culture. Many women have now been released or escaped while others remain in the hands of ISIS/ISIL. These survivors of captivity and enslavement require a significant amount of psychological support and care.

Since early 2015, Yazda has run a case management program to assist survivors. A Women’s Center has been established that runs weekly support groups, baking classes, handicraft classes, gives one-on-one psychological support, and provides material aid. A case manager is assigned to each woman, who tracks her progress and monitors needs. To date, Yazda has assisted over 1050 survivors of enslavement and captivity.

Yazda also maintains one of the largest databases of women held by ISIS/ISIL. Through this database, women are tracked and provided services by both Yazda and government authorities.

This case management platform achieves five key objectives for Yazda:

1. Provides urgent humanitarian aid to victims upon rescue, including but not limited to food, clothing, and medical needs

2. Improves rescue services by compiling data on key locations, victim demographics, and networks of victim enslavement in Iraq in efforts to more effectively assist the Iraqi government

3. Identifies areas for improvement regarding Yazda’s rehabilitative program that will lead to making data driven decisions

4. Builds capacity and infrastructure within the organization by streamlining the process to report required data/outcomes to third party funders, and allows for data to be utilized in showing the efficacy of the programming to increase our funding sources

5. Enhances coordinated care for victims post rescue by creating a readily accessible database system that integrates all personal client data, including intake information, case notes, location, legal documents, medical records, appointments, and incident reports.

As mentioned above, the case management platform achieves five key objectives for Yazda. First, with the implementation of the case management platform, Yazda has been able to provide urgent humanitarian aid to victims upon rescue, including but not limited to food, clothing, and medical needs.

Secondly, through the platform Yazda has been able to compile information gathered during interviews, including the key demographics of victims (age, nationality, fluency in English, etc.) and identify gaps in service needs based on data. Furthermore, Yazda also strives to collect data on the locations where victims were held. Through this information, Yazda hopes to better understand the physical and emotional needs of each victim it serves, as well as target locations and provide coordinated and detailed intel to the Iraqi government to increase rescue efforts.

Thirdly, itemizing services is more manageable on this platform, i.e. the number of services provided for psychological support in a given period of time. This information will drive critical decisions at Yazda, which will improve the quality of treatment for the program as a whole.

Fourthly, through managing data electronically, Yazda is able to quickly calculate key statistics, such as the number of meals served to victims, the number of victims in the base camps, and the number of referrals for support services, that is required by third party funders. This allows us to assess and report the efficacy of the programming to additional funders to expand and build capacity/infrastructure. For example, Yazda utilizes this comprehensive database to work with the Iraqi government to issue monthly stipends for survivors. Approximately 700 applications have been submitted, 250 of which were authorized and the remainder of which are in progress. Yazda has also leveraged this database in working with the Red Cross to provide one-time financial support of 300,000 Iraqi Dinars to 500 survivors.
Fifthly, by creating a readily accessible database system that integrates all of the survivors’ personal data, this platform enables survivors to receive specialized care. For instance, how one victim handles emotional counseling will differ from another victim. Similarly, although a victim is able to successfully integrate in one aspect, she may still struggle in another area. Since each victim copes with trauma differently, each victim undergoes rehabilitation differently. Integrating the intake information, case notes, medical records, appointments, and incident reports of survivors on to a single database is crucial to understanding this dynamic. As such, with the case management platform, Yazda is able to tailor its services to the unique needs and circumstances of survivors because all information is centralized and accessible.