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.
Iraq: VIDEO: "Sadness has become my food and my clothes"
Over the course of the week and a half I've been in northern Iraq so far, I've seen — and heard — a lot about Kurdish culture. It's extremely hospitable, thoughtful and fiercely passionate.
Iraq: VIDEO: A song, laughter and clapping
A school isn't only a place of learning for a child, it's a place of security. It's a place to be among trusted friends and caring adults.
Iraq: Finding the story
I work with Awatif in southern Iraq, but we had to travel across the country to get to know one another.
Iraq: Youth under siege, but waging peace
Iraq: Life amidst the ruins
Iraq: Images from the Iraq Storytelling Workshop
Mercy Corps recently held a writing and photography workshop for 22 staffers from all over Iraq. On the second day of training, they had the chance to visit three villages around the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk to do interviews and take photographs.
Iraq: Putting their new skills into practice
Iraq: How Iraq sounds to most of us
In the days before I left the U.S., when I was telling friends and family about traveling to Iraq, the words I heard most were, “Really? Be careful.”
Iraq: The Mercy Corps women of Baghdad
Although I don’t have any statistics on this subject, I feel pretty confident that Mercy Corps is probably one of the only international organizations in Iraq whose Baghdad Office was primarily opened and established by women.
Iraq: Iraq's women: worth the risk
Iraq's contentious election has tied its political system in knots. But this isn't stopping Mercy Corps from pursuing one of its main objectives there: making women's voices heard.