We describe the entire process leading to the start-up of an hematopoietic stem cell transplantation center at the Hiwa Cancer Hospital, in the city of Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan Iraqi Region. This capacity building project was funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, and implemented with the support of the volunteer work of Italian professionals, either physicians, nurses, biologists and technicians. The intervention started in April 2016, was based exclusively on training and coaching, and led to a first autologous transplantation in June 2016 and to an allogeneic transplantation in October. At the time of reporting, 9 months from the initiation of the project, 18 patients have been transplanted, 15with an autologous and 3 with an allogeneic graft. The center at the HCH represents the first transplantation center in Kurdistan and the second in wide Iraq. We conclude that international development cooperation may play an important role also in the field of high-technology medicine, and contribute to improved local centers capabilities through country to country scientific exchanges.