Read caption Photo: Melchizedek Malile/NRC

NRC in Eritrea

NRC is providing skills training and hope to youth in Eritrea


A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2017.


Humanitarian overview

Decades of conflict and severe drought have adversely affected Eritrea's agriculture-based economy. The country is one of the least developed countries in the world. 

For the last 18 years, the country’s economy has been dominated by a resource sapping "no war, no peace" situation with neighbouring Ethiopia, leading to increased military spending and a closed, heavily guarded border. 

A growing number of young people opt to leave the country to escape poverty and the mandatory national service that can be lengthy and onerous. Some escape through dangerous migration routes and risk being trafficked or tortured for ransom. Those who leave without permission risk a long prison sentence if they return. All those who have not been released from national service are hiding in fear of being forcefully recruited into the military. Most of the young generation end up as refugees in Ethiopia and Sudan. 

Meanwhile, the country has a large and growing population of youth who never went to school and who struggle to find jobs. 



NRC's operation

We work with marginalised people and out-of-school youth from remote areas. Due to the high number of uneducated youth and lack of NGO partners, we have launched an extensive education operation.  

To provide alternative options for Eritrean youth, we work to increase opportunity for better and diverse jobs, improved self-reliance and reliable livelihoods. 

Human rights issues and migration are sensitive issues and not openly debated in Eritrea.The lack of updated data makes it difficult to assess the needs of the population.  


NRC EducationEducation


We provide education opportunities for children and youth to improve their chances of employment in Eritrea. Our teams:

  • provide vocational training in pottery, weaving, electrical installation, masonry, plumbing and irrigation skills, fishery and net making
  • select the best students in each field and provide them with an opportunity to do an apprenticeship with renowned companies and institutions in Eritrea
  • train students in business management and provide them with a start-up grant and kits after graduation to help them start their own businesses
  • train teachers
  • equip vocational training centres with machinery and tools


​NRC Eritrea is grateful for the generous support from our donors:
  • UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
  • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
  • Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

About NRC in (country)

International Staff
Areas of Operation
Asmara (Country office), Keren, Massawa, Aqordat, Aguymeyt
Budget 2017
NOK 15.3 million


Country director

Melchizedek Malile



People we helped in Eritrea in 2017