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: '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 programme 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) programme, I was working with another non-governmental organisation 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 Programme.
Iraq: That's no way to say goodbye
As unrest throughout North Africa and the Middle East dominates the headlines and underlines the problems of lack of democracy, civic participation and unemployment, it’s a surprising time for the United Kingdom (UK) to be ending development assistance to Iraq.
Iraq: Reclaiming a place for Iraqi youth
For many years, there was a very bad place in the middle of Kalar, Iraq. It had no name, but all kinds of malice and misfortune spread from it, spilling into the surrounding neighborhoods.
Iraq: Literacy builds confidence for women in southern Iraq
Iraq: Protests, violence and the new speed of news
A few hours ago, I saw troubling signs come up on my Facebook page. One friend I made last month when I was visiting Iraq posted photos from a day of protests and violence in Sulaymaniyah, the city where I stayed.