Read caption 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 2019.

Humanitarian overview

Iraq saw unprecedented levels of displacement resulting from the conflict between coalition forces and the Islamic State group. Of the more than 5.6 million Iraqis who fled their homes since 2014, 1.4 million remain internally displaced.

Over 4 million Iraqis have returned to their areas of origin. Humanitarian organisations believe that many of these returns have been premature, unsafe or involuntary. Iraqis have returned to areas lacking basic infrastructure, utility services, livelihood opportunities, or where explosive devices have not been cleared. Challenges include lack of security, community acceptance, housing, property, civil documentation and education.

The humanitarian community estimates that more than 4.1 million Iraqis will need assistance in 2020, and initially asked for USD 520 million to deliver basic assistance (HRP 2020). With military operations against IS group largely concluded, the Iraqi government now faces new challenges, including managing civil unrest, mitigating the impacts of Covid-19, the reduced oil prices and economic productivity.


People we helped in Iraq in 2019

people benefited from our education programme
people benefited from our food security programme
people benefited from our shelter programme
people benefited from our camp management programme
people benefited from our ICLA programme
people benefited from our WASH programme

NRC's operation

We assist internally displaced Iraqis, Syrian refugees, and host communities, focussing 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 to assist the displacement-affected populations, while maintaining our capacity to respond to emergencies.


NRC Camp managementCamp management


Following the merging of the Hamam al-Alil 1 camp into Hamam al-Alil 2, as directed by the Ninewa Governor’s office in September 2019, NRC currently directly manages one camp in Ninewa governorate. Our teams:

  • oversee the maintenance of communal facilities and monitor for service gaps in the camp
  • collect data and manage information related to the population of the camp
  • focus on upholding community participation in camp governance structures
  • monitor returns and advocate for dignified, safe and long-term solutions for the displaced
  • lead coordination between humanitarian actors, local authorities, and the camp community
  • establish and follow through on public health contingency planning through containment, mitigation, response and household level shielding activities

After the closure of camps in Anbar, and with IDPs moving to a variety of formal and informal settlements, NRC began to employ the Mobile Site Management (MSM) modality to assess and reach secondarily displaced IDPs in informal sites (non-camp settings where IDPs have settled) often without security of tenure. The goal is to enhance the protective environment of such sites, advocate on key identified needs, and link these sites to service providers. NRC is currently working in one informal site hosting around 4,000 IDPs for this type of support.

NRC continues implementation of humanitarian coordination and information management approaches to address the needs of the urban displaced. The project has established mechanisms to enhance:

  • communication with communities on key outreach issues, such as disability and access to services
  • sharing information with and receiving feedback from displaced and vulnerable host communities
  • community engagement: participation of affected communities alongside local stakeholders in the humanitarian and development response
  • support to coordination: efficient, effective, and inclusive coordination of services at local level, involving a range of stakeholders including authorities, civil society, NGOs, and private sector


NRC EducationEducation


We ensure that children and youth have access to quality education. This is an urgent need in Iraq, critical for people to rebuild their lives. Our education teams:

  • support formal schools and provide teacher training
  • provide remedial classes, vocational and life-skills training, recreational activities and safe spaces to conflict and displacement-affected children and youth
  • support the reintegration into school of out-of-school children and prevent the drop-out of those already enrolled
  • support the integration of Syrian refugee children into formal state schools in northern Iraq
  • provide psychosocial support and stress management to children and teachers
  • advocate for unimpeded access to education for the millions of out-of-school children in Iraq
  • support home schooling options, including home learning materials, remote access to curriculum, and the safe re-opening of schools

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 IDP registration, housing, land and property (HLP) rights, as well as employment rights of internally displaced people (IDPs), returnees, refugees and vulnerable local community members in Iraq. Our ICLA programme:

  • increases community awareness through delivery of group information and dissemination of tailored information materials on legal issues
  • provides individual legal assistance– one-on-one legal counseling and legal representation before authorities and courts – in more complicated or vulnerable cases
  • adopts a highly 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 vulernable 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
  • 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
  • supports alternative and customary mechanisms of housing, land and property dispute resolution 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 with 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 in humanitarian coordination mechanisms in the legal protection sector on a local and national level, including the legal partner groups and the HLP sub-cluster meetings
  • leads advocacy efforts to put in place a national moratorium on eviction during the Covid-19 crisis


May Hadaya ICLA Coordinator at NRC

She was working as a Lawyer back in Mosul, but ISIS forced May Hadaya to leave her home 3 years ago. Now she is working with the Norwegian Refugee Council helping people from Mosul obtain official identification documents. Want to know more about May? Watch this video #WorldHumanitarianDay #NotATarget #Iraq

Posted by NRC Middle East on 21. august 2017

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 financial resources so that internally displaced, refugee and returnee families can repair homes
  • improve shelter accessibility for people with special needs
  • rehabilitate and upgrade damaged or partially destroyed shelters
  • 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 Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion


Our WASH teams work to protect people from public health risks and to restore the water and sanitation capacity in highly damaged returnee areas. We work to:

  • ensure household level water supply is at adequate level through increasing storage or increasing supply
  • ensure households have access to safe sanitation facilities
  • rehabilite critical WASH infrastructure such as water treatment facilities, water networks, and sewage treatment plants
  • support schools by improving water and sanitation facilities and delivering hygiene protection sessions to students


NRC Livelihoods and food securityLivelihoods and food security

We have been one of the largest cash providers in Iraq, including through our membership in the Cash Consortium of Iraq (CCI). This brings together five of the largest NGOs operational in Iraq, shifting from first line assistance to the displaced, where access to markets was guaranteed, towards assisting returnee families in their efforts to re-establish their lives. We provide them with the flexibility to spend this assistance on what they need most. To facilitate reintegration of returnees in their home areas, we complement our cash efforts with a variety of livelihood activities that aim to support returnees’ resilience and self-suffiency. Our livelihoods and cash programming:

  • provide multi-purpose cash assistance, which offers one-time or repeated cash transfers to displaced and returnee families, depending on their vulnerability
  • provide households with business grants that help promote self-employment opportunities and contribute to local market development
  • support recovery of microenterprises through provision of quality business development services (training, management support, strategy development, legal assistance)
  • provide training that focuses on improving capacity for economic self-reliance and knowledge, skill-sets, and social capital to support the recovery process
  • enhance employability and income earning opportunities of youth through apprenticeships, job placement/internship programmes
  • promote sustainable agricultural recovery in return areas ensuring that local productive capacities are restored
  • promote job creation in the most vulnerable communities through supporting recovery of agricultural value chains
  • where markets are unavailable, emergency assistance to those in need of food will be providedthrough in-kind or restricted cash


Emergency response

We provide emergency assistance to vulnerable communities to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak through the distribution of hygiene kits, delivering key hygiene messaging and installing handwashing points.


NRC Iraq is grateful for the generous support from our donors:


  • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • U.S. State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM)
  • European Union Regional Trust Fund (MADAD, NEAR)
  • Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)
  • United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR)
  • Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)
  • Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
  • United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
  • Regional Development and Protection Programme (RDPP)
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BMFA)

About NRC in Iraq

International staff
Areas of operation
Erbil (Country Office), Ninewa, Dohuk, Kirkuk, Anbar, Basra and Salah Al Din.
Budget 2020
USD 41 million
National staff

Country Director

Country Director

Rishana Haniffa


+964 7517410860
Media spokesperson

Tom Peyre-Costa

phone+964 (0) 751 182 3882


Job inquiries

Urban Shelter Response - Lessons From Baghdad