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, Syria: Zeinab's story: A child's refuge from war
Zeinab is a bright, wide-eyed girl I met at Dream Land, a Mercy Corps playground inside Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp. “I am happy here,” she said. “It’s better here because there is no war.”
Jordan, Syria: A city rising from the desert
Less than a year after opening, Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp is now housing more than 140,000 Syrian refugees, the equivalent of the country's fourth largest city.
Jordan, Syria: Desperately seeking water
The arrival of water trucks in Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp are a welcome sight for families who survive on limited rations. But the deliveries are simply not enough.
Jordan, Syria: Moving forward from loss
Each day, we meet Syrian families like the Al Husseins who have lived through tragedy that no one should have to, and they persevere.
Jordan, Syria: Struggle in a temporary home
Najwah and her husband Abad feel lucky to have found a temporary home in Mafraq, Jordan since they fled Syria with their children nine months ago.
Jordan, Syria: Jordan's hospitality for hundreds of thousands of Syrians
Recently I visited Mafraq, a border town that used to have a population of 60,000 people. Over the past 18 months, some 25,000 refugees have sought safety here.
Jordan, Syria: What will the future hold for Syria's young people?
After seeing her son imprisoned and tortured while trying to escape Syria, one mother wonders what's next for her family now that they are reunited in the Zaatari refugee camp.
Jordan, Syria: Syria refugee crisis becoming ‘unsustainable’
A visit to the Syrian refugee registration center in Jordan, which is receiving thousands of families who cross the border each day, highlights the urgent needs in this water-strapped country.
Jordan, Syria: A new home full of warmth and laughter
Meet one family who finally has protection from freezing temperatures thanks to Mercy Corps' winterization project in northern Jordan.
Jordan, Syria: Syrian refugees weather harsh winter far from home
I visited Zaatari refugee camp last week, after winter storms brought further hardship to the more than 50,000 Syrian refugees who now call it home.