May 28, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Agency for International Development said Wednesday that five humanitarian organizations will receive an initial $7 million each for community projects in Iraq.

The organizations will promote citizen involvement in local decisions and work to prevent conflicts across gender, ethnic and religious lines in 250 communities.The groups are Mercy Corps; International Relief and Development, Inc.; Agricultural Cooperative Development International, Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance; Cooperative Housing Foundation International and Save the Children Federation, Inc.

USAID said the community program will give Iraqis the opportunity to participate in decision-making that governs their lives.

The program will focus on mobilizing communities, social programs, employment and generation of income. The projects will promote women's rights and participation by young people and minority groups.

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