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Tech skills could break down barriers to employment for Iraqi youth

Coding bootcamps and programming courses are giving young Iraqis and refugees a way to work remotely

Zheekal Makwan, 23, fidgets with her smartphone as she perches on the edge of a plush sofa in a hotel lobby in Ainkawa, the Christian neighbourhood of Erbil. She is petite and looks younger than her years, but her ambitions belie her youthful appearance.

“I want to be one of the women in Kurdistan that starts her own company alone,” she says, over the chatter of other hotel guests.

Ms Makwan is what some people hope the future face of Iraq's labour market looks like: young, motivated and hungry for new ideas.

She is one of 40 young Iraqis, including eight women, who graduated from a five-month coding bootcamp in 2018 run by Re:Coded, a US-registered nonprofit organisation focused on training conflict-affected youth in tech skills.

Since then, she has started developing her own app to help young people in Iraq find and connect with employers, tackling one of the biggest barriers for young people entering the job market.

Full story here.


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