108,000 Iraq Ministry Officials Enrolled in Tatweer Training

MSI implemented the National Capacity Development project in Iraq, USAID’s flagship effort to rebuild the Iraqi civil service.

In 2006, Management Systems International began implementing the National Capacity Development project in Iraq, USAID’s flagship effort to rebuild the Iraqi civil service and the
capacity of key ministries to deliver core services to the country. The project, better known as “Tatweer,” has since worked to provide comprehensive support to critical Iraqi ministries and government offices in the form of technical assistance and specialized training.

Decades of war, sanctions and isolation caused many talented and experienced personnel to flee the country, rendering the core of Iraq’s public servant cadre severely depleted. The government was left with little capacity in the provision of public services. In response, Tatweer engaged the government ministries responsible for those services, such as Agriculture, Health and Oil, to bolster their internal management capabilities. In total, Tatweer assisted 10 ministries, five executive offices such as the Presidency Council and Prime Minister’s Office, the Kurdish Regional Government, and the offices of the Inspectors General.

Tatweer established a rigorous training program to impart public administration skills to a critical mass of Iraqi civil servants. In 2011, the project reached a milestone of 108,000 trainees in its courses, covering all of Iraq’s 18 provinces and ministries. Training curriculum focused on core skills such as financial management, procurement, information technology and human resources.

To ensure the sustainability of these efforts, Tatweer also developed Training of Trainers (ToTs) programs so that the skills and systems necessary for training would allow ministries to continue without external assistance. In January 2011, Tatweer handed over its training curriculum to the Iraqi government and formally recognized the public servants now equipped to continue training future generations of Iraqi civil servants.

In addition to training, the project provided specialized technical assistance to its various counterpart institutions. In coordination with the Ministry of Planning, Tatweer assisted the government in establishing a five-year National Development Plan that lays out $186 billion of capital investment planning, and is also building the ministry’s ability to monitor these expenditures.

Advisors worked closely with the Ministry of Oil and state oil companies to bring their contracting and procurement procedures up to date with the standards familiar to international oil firms.

With the Ministry of Health, advisors also helped to launch a pilot project utilizing GIS technology to facilitate provincial data collection and communication between provincial health care centers and ministry headquarters in Baghdad.

Training programs and specialized assistance were also supplemented by an ambitious procurement plan, with substantial cost sharing demonstrated by the Iraqi government. In coordination with USAID and the recipient ministries and agencies, the project modernized numerous training facilities across the country and equipped government offices with modern network infrastructure and computer equipment.

The project’s tailored assistance to ministries has taken place within the overarching context of federal and provincial civil service reform. Tatweer supported executive agencies in their efforts to draft new legislation to govern the civil service. The establishment of a Federal Civil Service Commission has paved the way for a merit-based civil service at both the federal level and within each of province. Advisors were requested by the Iraqi Prime Minister to provide support to the new law’s nationwide implementation.

“The Iraqis and expatriates working on USAID/Tatweer have…returned to Iraq the ability to teach world-class public administration skills and built modernized administrative systems,” Minister of Planning Ali Baban said. “The end result of Tatweer’s efforts is cleaner water for our children, better health care for our grandparents and energy for our homes and factories.”

The Tatweer project will continue through July 2011, concentrating its efforts on select program components.