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 2023.


Humanitarian overview

Five years since the end of active armed conflict, as humanitarian assistance evolves into an area-based approach co-led by the government, recovery in Iraq remains uneven. Approximately 1.18 million Iraqis remain internally displaced, in addition to the over 250,000 Syrian refugees within the country. Of the internally displaced people (IDPs) who returned to their areas of origin, only 40 per cent are considered to have found a durable solution for living. Voluntary return and resettlement of remaining IDPs has slowed due to the lack of civil documentation, inadequate housing conditions and limited access to basic services and livelihood opportunities.

Approximately 2.5 million IDPs and returnees are in need of assistance and are subject to difficulties. 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 collaboration between humanitarian and development architecture remain critical to reach millions in need.

  • 31,085
    people benefited from our education programme in 2023
  • 16,212
    people benefited from our food security programme
  • 141,613
    people benefited from our shelter programme
  • 329
    people benefited from our protection programme
  • 16,314
    people benefited from our ICLA programme
  • 887
    people benefitted from other NRC activities


NRC's operation

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

Our early recovery programming integrates services across sectors which supports sustainable development and durable solutions to displacement.

NRC EducationEducation

We ensure children and youth have access to quality education and opportunities for skills development which are critical for building personal and community resilience. We support:

  • non-formal education programming through remedial classes and basic literacy and numeracy for school-age children, and youth programming inclusive of continued learning opportunities, technical and vocational training, and well-being
  • teacher development and training on child-centered pedagogy, inclusive education; child safeguarding; PSEA and PSS
  • formal schools to prevent dropouts and create additional learning spaces for students through teacher training, follow-up support and learning materials
  • through school and centre-based community structures our localisation strategy strengthens relevant Ministry departments, directorate and local systems in order to deliver safe and protective quality education services
  • collaborate and lead on education programming and policy for children and youth through the Education Consortium of Iraq (ECI) alongside three other INGOs
  • material support to Formal Education through supplying resources, classroom weatherisation and improvements, and updating WASH services


Protection from violence

We work to ensure greater safety and freedom for vulnerable, at-risk communities through:

  • integrated case management services and legal assistance to individuals recovering from or exposed to protection risks
  • monitoring and analysis of risks to individual and community safety
  • fostering community participation and ownership through trust-building and engagement
  • conducting research on emerging and recurring protection trends, and advocating for freedom from violence for communities in displacement


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

Our team of lawyers and paralegals work directly with ministries, line directorates and the Iraqi judiciary 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 through:

  • dissemination of tailored information material on legal issues to help foster community awareness
  • individual legal assistance, one-on-one legal counselling and legal representation before authorities and courts in complex and/or vulnerable cases
  • a localised, nimble approach to overcome obstacles facing vulnerable people, targeting those most in need, with particular emphasis on the rights of women and girls
  • integrating use of cash modality for legal fees, we ensure representation does not diminish a household’s ability to access other civic services such as healthcare and education
  • supporting inclusion of people within available state-managed social protection systems
  • analysis of legal barriers facing Syrian refugee communities in Iraq, specifically as it relates to access to decent work, advocating for increased access to civil documentation for all Iraqis in displacement, supporting dispute resolution as it pertains to equitable access to housing, land and property rights


NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

NRC’s shelter and settlements team improves living conditions that provide dignity, better access and well-being for conflict-affected populations through both advocacy and programming. We:

  • provide materials, training and/or financial resources so 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 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
  • in integration with Livelihoods programming, advocate for climate adaptive solutions to support communities at risk of climate induced displacement
  • support community resilience through upkeep and rehabilitation of infrastructure including the rejuvenation of thousands of kilometres of canals


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 connects the recovery of conflict-affected communities and youth to the recovery of the rest of Iraq’s population. 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 programme strengthens livelihood opportunities in conflict-affected governorates through enhanced access to agriculture and infrastructure.

Our livelihoods, cash and markets-strengthening programmes:

  • provides 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
  • 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
  • supports 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)t focuses on improving capacity for economic self-reliance and knowledge, skillsets, and social capital to support the recovery process
  • improves access to financial inclusion pathways for conflict-affected communities alongside awareness-raising and legal support
  • enhance employability and income-earning opportunities for youth through apprenticeships, job placement/internship programmes or job referrals
  • 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 capacity to trigger reactive WASH work in informal sites and during emergency responses. Beyond this, NRC Iraq’s prior experience in large-scale WASH work has been directed towards mainstreaming WASH across our education, livelihoods, and infrastructure programmes.


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 supplies
  • 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), Anbar, Baghdad, Basra, Dohuk, Erbil, Kirkuk, Nineweh and Salah Al Din governorates
National staff

Country Director

Country Director

Sue Clark


+964 7508098307