Mercy Corps has been working in Iraq since 2003. The road to a new Iraq is fraught with challenges and citizens struggle to survive against a backdrop of political dysfunction, infighting, extremism and potential of civil war. Hundreds of thousands have fled the most violent areas and are seeking safety elsewhere. The ongoing conflict in neighboring Syria continues to drive Syrian refugees across the border into camps and urban settlements.
The country's precarious development is stressed by the needs of displaced people and refugees. Basic services have been disrupted, and water is in short supply. Large communities of internally-displaced families already lack water, shelter and proper hygiene facilities, and many are struggling to build peaceful relationships and make lives in their new communities.
More than 200,000 Mosul residents have been displaced since fighting in the city began — 50,000 of them are newly displaced after recent armed attacks in February 2017. Mercy Corps is responding to the urgent needs of more than 80,000 of the 217,000 people who fled Mosul in the fall of 2016 and we are preparing to expand our work as needed. Learn more about the humanitarian crisis in Mosul ▸
- Emergency response: Distributing emergency aid packages to recently-displaced communities, and providing ongoing support to Syrian refugees.
- Children & Youth: Creating safe spaces for conflict-affected Syrian and Iraqi children living in northern Iraq.
- Education: Teaching children sports education, emphasizing leadership, identity, and community building, in partnership with the Baghdad Ministry of Education.
- Conflict & Governance: Encouraging reconciliation and good governance by providing capacity-building training and empowering local leaders to resolve disputes and reform policies.
All stories about Iraq
Iraq: From protest to power
Our program saved lives this past August. It was one of the most encouraging things I’ve seen in Iraq in the last 10 years.
Iraq: Inheriting a stronger nation
For the last nine years, Mercy Corps' Community Action Program has worked in phases to empower individuals, community groups and local governments to improve life in Iraq.
Iraq: A life after divorce
Rasha’s story is unfortunately typical of girls in Iraq: She was married off against her will at age 13.
Iraq: Making the law work for them
In the Middle East, Iraq has a history of being a leader in promoting women's rights. Even after the fall of Saddam Hussein, women were some of the first to organize across ethnic and religious lines to advocate for democratic change.
Iraq: One hundred text messages she can read and write
The noise was deafening. I had asked a simple question — “How has the WAI program changed your life?” — and everyone had an answer. I didn’t know what to focus on. Spoons clinked in tea glasses and the women never stopped talking.
Iraq: Empowered youth build stronger society
Salahadin in one of the hardest hit provinces in Iraq. Just north of Baghdad, services here are hard to come by and the security situation is often critical. But it is also the center of a groundswell of civic activism and organization.
Iraq: Teachers celebrate women in Iraq
It’s fitting that teachers from our Women’s Awareness and Inclusion (WAI) program got together to celebrate International Women’s Day — many of them for the first time.
Iraq: A safer walk to school in Basra
Flying into Basra in southern Iraq for the first time, all I could see was desert and the occasional smoke plumes from the oil fields.
Iraq: 'I'm an employee now'
Hamid Jassim is the 52-year-old father of a big family – he has two sons and three daughters, and is known in his community as Abo Mustafa. I met him while he was working as a laborer on a project for the rehabilitation of Basma Kindergarten, in the Jalawla neighborhood outside of Khanaqin.
Iraq: Mending livelihoods and catching hope in southern Iraq
Hassan Sabri is a 33-year-old fisherman, and one of the beneficiaries of a recently-completed Mercy Corps Iraq livelihoods project. Our team provided nets to poverty-stricken fishermen in Al Bihar sub-district, which is located 90 kilometers away from the southern city of Basra.