Since 2003, Mercy Corps has been working to support Jordanians as well as Syrian refugees who have fled to the country. Last year we supported more than 1 million people. Our programs strive to meet basic needs, build strong and engaged communities, increase economic opportunities, and promote growth that also protects scarce natural resources.
Jordan is located in western Asia and is bordered by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Israel and Palestine (West Bank) — the population is about 10 million people. Jordan is often seen as a refuge from crisis, measured not on its own terms, but on the terms of its neighbors.
Jordan has become home to more than 650,000 Syrian refugees since the Syrian conflict began in 2011. Even though formal refugee camps do exist, most Syrians live outside of them.
This population influx further strains Jordan’s already overburdened education, health, public service and natural resource infrastructures affecting both refugees as well as Jordanian host communities. High unemployment rates and a rising cost of living can also be a source of tension within communities.
Additionally, Jordan is one of the most water scarce countries in the world and with a rapidly expanding population (the population is expected to double by 2047), meeting water demands has become more critical than ever.
Mercy Corps sees Jordan as a place beyond refuge, shaped by the crises on its borders, but not defined by them. We acknowledge these challenges while also seeing opportunity for Jordanians and Syrian refugees to build better lives.
Our team of 250 members in Jordan are led by Country Director Hunter Keith. More than 235 of them are from Jordan. From providing psychosocial support to helping entrepreneurs strengthen their microbusinesses, we ensure solutions are community-led and market-driven.
We work with vulnerable populations to make sure their basic needs are met in a safe and dignified way. This often means providing cash assistance, educational opportunities (especially for children with disabilities), and safe spaces for kids to play and families to advance their resiliency.
At the community level, we work with leaders to alleviate tensions and strengthen relationships between each other and also with government actors.
To help transition people on a pathway to self-reliance, we prepare job seekers for employment with relevant technical and vocational skills trainings while simultaneously working with businesses and entrepreneurs to ensure safe, equitable and decent work opportunities. With a focus on bold, technology-enhanced solutions, we are tackling youth unemployment.
Throughout, we make sure we are not unnecessarily draining water and energy resources. To take this a step further, we work with families as well as the agricultural sector to develop better systems and tools to change behaviors around water use.
At Mercy Corps, we provide Jordanian host communities and Syrian refugees with a variety of opportunities and services that meet both their urgent and long-term needs. Here are some of our results to date:
- In 2017, more than 1 million people benefited from our work.
- We have provided nearly 3,200 refugee and vulnerable Jordanian households with cash to help them obtain missing documentation, prepare for the winter or meet other urgent needs.
- Every month, 8,000 young people use the services at our safe spaces in Zaatari refugee camp.
- More than 4,500 children with disabilities have access been enrolled in our inclusive education program receiving rehabilitation services, accommodative equipment and/or academic support.
How to help
Jordan: We worked with adolescent girls to design their own reproductive health sessions. Here's what they taught us.
Refugee girls in Zaatari camp told us that they primarily learned about their bodies from older girls. So we let them take the lead.
Jordan, Syria: I lost everything when my home was bombed. So I built a school for refugees.
Ahmad was a cattle farmer in Syria when war ended the only life he knew. So he resettled in Jordan—and did something radical.
Jordan, Syria: "Treat them as they are": How a safe space helped a young refugee blossom
Young refugees like Amani are often forced to grow up too fast, faced with adult decisions and traumatic circumstances. Read more about how we're helping her gain life skills and more in her refugee camp.
Jordan, Syria: What happens now: Connecting refugees to critical information on their phones
Watch the video to experience the journey of a refugee and learn how our innovative information app helps them along the way.
Jordan, Syria: Lifting weights and spirits: How a women’s gym forged a friendship
The Syrian refugee crisis is complex and full of challenges. But Lena and Leila's story is proof of one thing we know for certain: bringing refugees and their neighbors together can transform entire communities for good.
Jordan, Syria: The dream Bashar carries
Bashar is a 21-year-old Syrian refugee who works 70 hours a week to support his family. But he hasn't given up on his dream for a better life.
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Q&A: How is the Syria crisis reshaping the Middle East?
More than 5 million Syrians have been forced to seek safety in neighboring countries. How will that change the fabric of the Middle East? Learn more in this Q&A with Mercy Corps' country directors for Lebanon and Jordan, George Antoun and Hunter Keith.
Jordan, Syria: For refugees in Jordan, two months became five years
Many families thought they would only be in Jordan's Zaatari camp a matter of weeks. As each year passes, life in the camp has taken them further from home.
Jordan, Syria: 7 ways you're helping Syrian refugees build better lives
Because of caring people like you, our response to the Syrian refugee crisis has kept growing — and now, there are so many ways we are working together to help Syrian refugee families.
Jordan, Syria: For refugees with disabilities, a back to school to remember
Syria's most vulnerable refugee students face incredible barriers to receiving an education. That's why going back to school means so much more for them than the end of summer.