Support the needs of internally-displaced Iraqis and Syrians who have sought refuge in more stable regions of the country. Strengthen civil society and local government capacity, and provide the building blocks for a safe and thriving democracy, including education, basic services and human rights. Engage youth who have been exposed to years of trauma in activities that support their wellbeing and sense of community.
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: Economic development on a personal level
In a part of the country often forgotten by the central government, southern Iraq has had its share of challenges following years of conflict that began with the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s.
Iraq: Citizens learn to speak out, leaders learn to listen
Good things are happening in Iraq. Ordinary citizens are stepping up to rebuild and renew their country. People not accustomed to having a voice are learning how to make their concerns known to the leaders of their communities. Leaders are learning how to listen and respond.
Iraq: Addressing water deficiency concerns in Iraq
For years, suffering and tiredness was Amina's lifestyle. In 1994, she and her family were forcibly moved away from their ancestral village of Kuna-Kamtar by the Iraqi army. She was displaced until 2003, when the old Iraqi regime collapsed and her family was able to return home.
Iraq: Closing the gap: Gender-equitable access to education
Iraq: 'Nothing equals education'
Forty-four-year-old Kareem Kateh has been a farmer in southern Iraq his entire life. He didn’t have many other options: the nearest school was too far away to complete his primary school education. Still he made a good living, and was able to buy a large plot of land for his family.
Iraq: Arazu's dream
One of the participants in the Mercy Corps Iraq-sponsored Creating Murals For Kalar Kindergarten project — in which art students paint murals on local school walls — is 22-year-old Arazu Hassan Salih.
Iraq: Literacy class graduation in Basra
Graduates of Mercy Corps' literacy program in Basra, Iraq, proudly holding their certificates.
Iraq: Two Iraqi women, determined to succeed
Before I started working with Mercy Corps' Women’s Awareness and Inclusion (WAI) program, I was working with another non-governmental organization on land mine awareness and education.
Iraq: "Disability does not stand between a man and his aspirations"
"Disability does not stand as obstacle between a man and his aspirations. The real disability is the disability of will and determination," 21-year-old Hassan told me.
Iraq: Remembering the importance of "community" in community development
Mercy Corps has been in Iraq’s four southernmost provinces — Basra, Maysan, Muthanna and Thi Qar — since 2003, implementing the USAID-funded Community Action Program.