Displaced people from Mosul and surrounding areas in Hasan Sham camp where NRC is providing emergency aid such as food parcels, water and hygiene kits in addition to school support and safe spaces for children. Photo: Hussein Amri/NRC

NRC in Iraq

The humanitarian crisis in Iraq remains one of the largest and most volatile in the world.

A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2021.


Humanitarian overview

Four years since the end of active armed conflict, displacement in Iraq remains complex with protracted and secondary displacement. Approximately 1.18 million Iraqis remain internally displaced, in addition to the nearly 250,000 Syrian refugees within the country. Of the internally displaced people who returned to their areas of origin, only 40 percent are considered to have found a durable solution. Voluntary returns of the remaining internally displaced people have slowed due to housing conditions and a lack of basic services and livelihood opportunities in return areas. 

While the humanitarian response has witnessed a decline in funding, significant needs continue to go unmet. Approximately 2.5 million internally displaced people and returnees are in need of humanitarian assistance and are prone to shocks. Households without civil documentation cannot return to their areas of origin or access services. Meanwhile, needs in informal settlements are significant among the more than 100,000 displaced for the second time. Increased linkages between humanitarian and development architecture are critical throughout the transition of the humanitarian response and cluster system.

  • 71,964
    people benefited from our education programme
  • 13,129
    people benefited from our food security programme
  • 126,211
    people benefited from our shelter programme
  • 20,279
    people benefited from our camp management programme
  • 45,263
    people benefited from our ICLA programme
  • 23.219
    people benefitted from other work


NRC's operation

We assist internally displaced Iraqis, Syrian refugees, returnees and host communities, focusing on those in protracted displacement in camps, informal settlements and areas of return, with a particular emphasis on hard-to-reach populations.

We are continuing to shift towards early recovery programming, aiming for sustainable development, providing integrated and localised services to assist the displacement-affected populations while maintaining our capacity to respond to immediate humanitarian needs.

NRC EducationEducation

We ensure that children and youth have access to quality education and skills development opportunities which are critical for building personal and community-level resilience of displacement affected girls, boys and youth. We:

  • support formal schools to prevent dropouts and create additional learning spaces for students
  • provide teacher trainings, follow-up support, and learning materials
  • collaborate and lead on education programming and policy for children and youth through the Education Consortium of Iraq (ECI) alongside three other INGOs
  • provide recreational activities, psychosocial support and stress management, and skills development to children and teachers
  • advocate for unimpeded access to education for out-of-school children, including Syrian refugee children’s integration into formal state schools in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
  • ensure school-aged girls and boys are protected through training teachers and education personnel on PSEA and child protection and wellbeing, engagement and capacity building of caregivers on education and protection risks in Parent-Teacher Associations and Mother Groups, and referrals to protection or other basic services as needed


NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

NRC Iraq lawyers and paralegals work to increase access to legal identity and civil documentation, legal residency and registration, housing, land and property (HLP) rights, as well as employment rights of IDPs, returnees, refugees and vulnerable local community members in Iraq. Our ICLA programme:

  • increases community awareness through the delivery of group information and dissemination of tailored information materials on legal issues
  • provides individual legal assistance– one-on-one legal counselling and legal representation before authorities and courts in more complicated or vulnerable cases
  • adopts a localised, mobile approach to overcome obstacles facing vulnerable people, targeting those most in need, with particular emphasis on the rights of women and girls
  • couples its legal support for vulnerable people with the use of cash for legal fees and transportation costs to maximise added value
  • supports people in claiming the government’s social assistance where available
  • implements research initiatives and produces analyses and reports on access to rights and justice of displaced people in Iraq, including research relevant to Syrian refugees who may have housing or land claims inside Syria
  • maintains vigorous advocacy efforts to the advantage of the displaced vis-à-vis a variety of duty bearers and stakeholders on community, local and national level in order to obtain civil documentation
  • supports alternative and customary mechanisms of housing, land and property dispute resolution and labour disputes through capacity building of officials and community leaders on Collaborative Dispute Resolution (CDR) techniques, or direct interventions to facilitate mediation or negotiation
  • works with administrative, judicial and security officials to facilitate displaced Iraqis’, refugees’, and vulnerable local community members’ access to obtaining legal and civil documentation, processing property compensation claims or reclaiming their housing and land
  • supports Iraqi households and mine action actors in navigating the housing and land tenure issues related to mine clearance
  • actively participates or co/leads humanitarian coordination mechanisms in the legal protection sector on local and national levels
  • provides essential information about labour rights in Iraq to small business employers and employees


NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

NRC’s shelter and settlements programming improves living conditions that provide dignity, better access and well-being for conflict affected populations through both advocacy and programming, thereby fostering protection and strengthening resilience. Our shelter teams:

  • provide materials, training and/or financial resources so internally displaced, refugee and returnee families can repair their homes
  • improve shelter accessibility for people with special needs
  • rehabilitate and upgrade damaged or partially destroyed shelters as a result of conflict
  • advocate for improved access to adequate housing and the governmental property compensation programme for those whose homes have been destroyed as a result of the conflict
  • reinforce security of tenure
  • minor rehabilitation of key community level infrastructures that enable sustainable and safe returns to be achieved


NRC Livelihoods and food securityLivelihoods and food security

NRC is a key livelihoods actor in Iraq aiming to support displacement-affected populations’ resilience and self-sufficiency. We implement livelihoods programming that empowers conflict-affected communities and youth. We do so by strengthening skills and connecting individuals to market-driven systems and solutions, such as entrepreneurship and financial inclusion initiatives. In addition, the Activating Markets and Agricultural Livelihoods (AMAL) program strengthens livelihood opportunities in conflict-affected governorates through enhanced access to agriculture and infrastructure.

Our livelihoods, cash, and AMAL programmes:

  • provide multi-purpose cash assistance through one-time or multi-month cash transfers to displaced and returnee families as one of the largest cash assistance providers in Iraq
  • Collaborate and engage on cash and livelihoods programming and policies through membership in the Cash and Livelihoods Consortium of Iraq (CLCI)
  • provide access to emergency livelihoods support in the form of Cash for Work and asset restoration/livelihood activation grants
  • provide households with business grants that help promote self-employment opportunities and contribute to local market development
  • support recovery of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through provision of business scale-up grants and quality business development services (training, management support, strategy development, legal assistance)
  • provide market-oriented training that focuses on improving capacity for economic self-reliance and knowledge, skillsets, and social capital to support the recovery process
  • Improve access to financial inclusion pathways for conflict-affected communities alongside awareness-raising and legal support
  • enhance employability and income earning opportunities of youth through apprenticeships, job placement/internship programmes or job referrals
  • support the agricultural sector through assistance to farmers, small business owners and rehabilitation of agricultural infrastructure
  • promote restoration of agricultural productive capacity through agro-infrastructure rehabilitation, provision of inputs/starter up kits using in-kind and market-based approaches, technical agriculture training and facilitating safe and sustainable access to farming land


NRC Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion

NRC maintains the ability to trigger reactive WASH work in informal sites and during emergency response. Beyond this, NRC Iraq’s prior experience in large-scale WASH work has been directed towards mainstreaming WASH in our education, livelihoods, and agricultural work.


Emergency response

Through NRC’s established emergency response teams, we provide:

  • emergency assistance to vulnerable communities through the distribution of hygiene kits, delivering key hygiene messaging and installing handwashing points
  • rapid response multi-purpose cash, cash for food, or in-kind food
  • shelter NFIs and rapid site maintenance activities
  • general information sessions to communities on their rights and pathways to access services


About NRC in Iraq

International staff
Areas of operation
Erbil (Country Office), Dohuk, Kirkuk, Anbar, Ninewah, Basra and Salah Al Din.
Budget 2020
USD 39.3 million
National staff

Country Director

Country Director

Dr James Munn


+964 751 740 7628