“They told us that we would do better to work for our people’s rights first. We say that our battle for the Palestinian refugees’ rights starts with our battle for the Palestinian women’s rights!” Ahlam Abou Sahyoun Photo: NRC/Christian Jepsen
Read caption Information session for Palestinian women in Lebanon. Photo: NRC/Christian Jepsen

NRC in Lebanon

NRC support everyone affected by displacement in Lebanon and advocate for their rights inside the country, regionally and internationally. We also work to serve the local communities hosting displaced people.

A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2017.

Humanitarian overview

Lebanon has the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. The estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees and almost 175,000 Palestinian refugees amount to over a quarter of Lebanon's total population. This has put pressure on public services and affected the country's demographic balance, threatening to impact Lebanon's political stability.

Under Lebanese law, Syrians and Palestinians are not considered refugees, but "guests" granted temporary hospitality. The Lebanese government opposes creating formal camps, so refugees must find, and pay for, their own accommodation or live in informal settlements. An estimated 80 per cent of Syrian refugees rent apartments, unfinished or sub-standard buildings.

Since 2015, Lebanon's borders have been closed to civilians fleeing Syria. It's difficult for refugees already in the country to renew their legal stay, making it hard for them to move freely without the fear of arrest or detention. Refugees cannot legally work and struggle to meet their essential needs. Seven out of ten Syrian refugees live below the national poverty line.

People we helped in Lebanon in 2017

people benefited from our education 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 support everyone affected by displacement in Lebanon and advocate for their rights inside the country, regionally and internationally.

Because refugees in Lebanon live side-by-side with the Lebanese, we also work to serve the local communities hosting displaced people.

NRC EducationEducation

We run education projects at our community centres, alternative learning spaces and in schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Our education activities include:

  • supporting access to education to keep children in school
  • creating non-formal education opportunities to reach out-of-school children, such as catch-up classes
  • train teachers
  • rehabilitating Lebanese public schools
  • providing vocational training and language classes for out-of-school youth and young adults
  • supporting UNRWA's schools for Palestinian refugees by training teachers on child-centred approaches to teaching

Read more about our education activities in English and Arabic. (2017)


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

Our ICLA teams:

  • raise awareness among refugees about their rights in Lebanon
  • support access to civil documentation, like permit renewals and birth registration
  • work to prevent housing disputes and forced evictions
  • monitor individual cases, from assistance to referrals and follow-up systems
  • visit families to ensure they receive the information they need and to identify special concerns
  • provide legal assistance and representation for Palestinian refugees, particularly in cases concerning property inheritance

 Read more about our ICLA activities in English and Arabic. (2017)

NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

Our shelter efforts provide affordable, quality housing – and we are the main providers of such housing in Lebanon. Our shelter projects include:

  • providing a minimum of 12 months of rent-free housing for Syrian refugees though the Occupancy Free of Charge programme
  • ensuring that renovated properties have adequate water, sewage and sanitation facilities
  • providing materials for emergency weather proofing, or provide cash vouchers to purchase proofing materials
  • repairing buildings in Palestinian refugee camps

  Read more about our shelter projects in English and Arabic. (2017)

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

We work to expand water and sanitation services and improve hygiene practices among Syrian and Palestinian refugees, and local Lebanese communities. Our WASH teams:

  • ensure that shelter projects have adequate water, sewage and sanitation facilities
  • construct water network extensions, including boreholes, to increase clean water supply to refugees and local communities
  • lead community support projects and provide crucial infrastructure support to vulnerable Lebanese communities
  • set up new sanitation systems that use small-scale septic tanks to manage sewage
  • create WASH committees in informal tented settlements, to help refugees take care of WASH infrastructure maintenance and services

Read more about our activities in Lebanon in English and Arabic. (2017)

Community Management and Coordination

We manage and coordinate informal settlements. Our teams:

  • build refugees' coordination capacity and enhance their involvement in aid, while reducing their dependency on it
  • collaborate closely with the Ministry of Social Affairs, municipality leaders, the UN agency for refugees and other partners to strengthen the self-reliance of Syrian refugees


​NRC Lebanon is grateful for the generous support from our donors:
  • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
  • KfW Development Bank (Germany)
  • Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
  • United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID)
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

About NRC in (country)

International staff
Areas of operation
Beirut ( Country office), Tyre, Zahle, Tal Abbas.
National staff


Country Director

Kate Norton