From Trainee to Trainer: an iMMAPer’s Journey

In the midst of the Iraq Crisis in 2017, Barzan’s career in information management (IM) started with the participation in an iMMAP training session which led him to become a trainer at iMMAP. Now he is helping to build the IM capacity of his peers working in development and aid organizations.

The three-year war with ISIS resulted in a major population displacement in Iraq. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 3.4 Million people in Iraq had been internally displaced by July 2017. A significant local and international support was imperative to assist the millions of Iraqis in distress.

During that time, Barzan Awat Ali had just joined a data analyst team at a humanitarian aid organization called Qandil (currently known as SWEDO). Barzan and his colleagues at Qandil were responding to the crisis by collecting data and maintaining a needs profile of displaced people at different camp locations.

In response to the growing humanitarian emergency in 2017, iMMAP launched the Multidimensional Risk Mitigation Information Management Center project, part of which was training personnel on the ground on data collection and visualization. Barzan took part in the iMMAP training sessions on several occasions and he was introduced to well-established approaches to IM, data collection, and visualization that are known to be effective. In addition, Barzan gained knowledge of the practical tools and techniques that have been applied to ensure effective and efficient humanitarian action in response to the crisis.

On the left, wearing black, Barzan during his first training at iMMAP in 2017

We quickly started creating customized surveys and dashboards and trained more than 20 staff who were collecting data from field locations on data collection methods.Barzan Awat Ali

Through his training with iMMAP, Barzan accumulated essential knowledge and expertise related to his field, which enabled him to create customized surveys, visualize data through interactive dashboards, efficiently gather data, and monitor the reach and progress of operations. Moreover, Barzan trained more than 20 of his colleagues at Qandil, which was his first experience as a trainer.

The iMMAP strategic goal in Iraq is to build qualified national assets in IM to support their organizations and Barzan is a good example of thatIsam Ghareeb, iMMAP Iraq Country Representative

Standing, Barzan delivering the training to his colleagues

“After I completed my first training at iMMAP, I quickly become very interested in information management” recalls Barzan.”Once I finished my duties at Qandil, I felt confident in applying for information management positions since I gained extensive experience in the field of IM.”Barzan Awat Ali

Before joining iMMAP, in his prior positions working with various organizations such as Human Appeal and Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Barzan was able to do substantial work in establishing information management systems, creating several dashboards, enhancing data collection processes, and sharing expertise by training colleagues. Furthermore, during his work at DRC, Barzan facilitated the information management needs of five organizations in the Cash Consortium of Iraq (CCI), which allowed him to accumulate valuable experience in both the humanitarian sector and the information management field.

Barzan training participants in the data collection and visualization training

In January 2020, Barzan officially joined iMMAP Iraq to work on the Risk Mitigation Information Management Center (RMIMC) project as a capacity-building trainer.

Currently, Barzan is delivering data collection and visualization training to other humanitarian workers who are responding to the ongoing crisis in Iraq. In his last six months at iMMAP, Barzan has trained more than 170 personnel through numerous training sessions.

“Barzan is very skilled and a good trainer. He was trying to engage everyone by giving clear instructions and allowing time for everyone to speak.” a participant noted.

“Having participated in the iMMAP training courses a couple of years back opened the door to the field of information management. After I gained the skills and knowledge, I grew very interested in the field and I decided to continue” said Barzan. “My work at iMMAP has allowed me to gain more and more experience, which I can then share with colleagues working in the same field I used to work in not so long ago”.


iMMAP Iraq response

iMMAP Iraq has been actively supporting humanitarian aid organizations, UN agencies, and local governments in Iraq to respond to the country-wide humanitarian crisis. One of the iMMAP led initiatives is the RMIMC project - which promotes situational information products and risk awareness regarding liberated areas and provides capacity building services for humanitarian actors. With the support of the Iraq Humanitarian Fund (IHF), this project enables partners to make informed decisions and carry out response operations in an effective manner, to address the underlying causes of deep-rooted development and humanitarian issues faced in Iraq.