“AMAR and Shell have a successful history of working together, making a real difference to communities throughout Iraq”
– Baroness Nicholson, Chairman of AMAR
The partnership, initially formed to provide vital medical equipment, has grown significantly since 2010 and now reaches more than 15,000 people every month, helping improve their health, education and training.
In 2014, AMAR and Shell signed a four-year Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen their working relationship and formalise their commitment to working together over the coming years.
Hans Nijkamp, Shell Iraq’s Vice President and Country Chairman, said: “Our work with AMAR continues to positively impact the people of Iraq through key initiatives and we look forward to further developing our partnership in the years ahead.”
Many communities in Basra Province suffer from poor health due to limited awareness, inadequate facilities and insufficient staff training. Health is at the core of AMAR and Shell’s work, with initiatives aimed at improving access to primary health care and health education. Shell funds three mobile health clinics which serve a catchment area of more than 10,000 people and provides regular health services in rural and other isolated villages. Shell also supports sixty-four Women Health Volunteers who conduct monthly home visits to women and families in the community.
Health education is another major initiative funded by Shell. Regular health education is provided in 98 schools, benefitting over 9,000 pupils a month. Health education is also provided in rural villages to inform people about preventative health measures in areas such as food hygiene and sanitation. Alongside education, Shell distributes over 10,000 water chlorination tablets every month to purify local water supplies. All AMAR’s programmes are implemented in partnership with the Ministries of Health and Education and professional training is provided to staff to build local capacity in the long-term.
AMAR and Shell are working to widen access to education by improving school environments. Poor facilities, overcrowding and long travelling distances can prevent children, in particular girls, from attending school altogether. AMAR and Shell are currently building a new secondary school for girls with capacity for up to 540 pupils per year. The partners are also supporting access to clean drinking water in schools through the installation of reverse osmosis units in 28 schools. All construction is undertaken in partnership with the Ministry of Education to ensure long-term maintenance and use.
With road traffic accidents one of the biggest killers in Iraq and growing numbers of vehicles on the road, road safety education is increasingly a priority within Basra Province. In 2013, AMAR and Shell developed an education programme for primary school pupils which taught safe play, pedestrian safety and passenger safety through games, stories, songs and interactive activities. AMAR also provides training to sixty-four Women Safety Volunteers and eighteen primary health staff, enabling them to deliver road safety education in the community.
The close and effective cooperation between Shell Iraq and AMAR has been recognised within Shell. In 2011, the Majnoon project team won the Chief Executive’s HSSE Award for Excellence in Social Performance. Shell Iraq’s work with AMAR was explicitly recognised by the judges for its valuable contribution to Shell’s social investment activities. Shell employees have also made personal contributions to AMAR through funding a breast cancer awareness programme in 2014. Employee donations also provided food boxes and sanitary items for displaced families following the crisis caused by IS in Iraq.
Commenting on the future of the partnership, Baroness Nicholson said, “We hope to build on the incredible success of our partnership with Shell for many years to come. Shell’s management and staff have been supportive towards our work as they share our vision that our teams on the ground can really make a difference.”