Since 2003, Mercy Corps has been working to pave the way for a new Iraq. We continue to deliver emergency, life-saving assistance to conflict affected populations while also addressing longer term needs and underlying causes. Ongoing cycles of conflict have resulted in millions of people displaced, basic infrastructure destroyed, livelihoods disrupted, and deepening divisions within communities. Since our work began, we’ve provided support to more than 5 million people affected by war, violence, and displacement.
Fifteen years of conflict have left a diverse population across Iraq fractured and divided, struggling in the face of conflict, extremism and political dysfunction. Many of those who lived in the most violent areas of the country have since fled their homes in search of safety. The conflict has dramatically exacerbated issues like poverty and lack of access to water and sanitation.
6.7 million people are still desperately in need of humanitarian assistance. Another 2.3 million people are in need of water, sanitation and hygiene services.
Over 6 million people have been displaced due to violent conflict since 2014 — only half have been able to return home since then with 1.8 million people remaining displaced.
2.6 million children need access to education, their education having been disrupted by the ongoing conflict or the need to help support their families. Many children end up working on the streets while many young girls are vulnerable to abuse or forced into early marriages.
Meanwhile, thousands of Syrian refugees escaping from violent conflict have crossed the border in an attempt to seek shelter in Iraq. 250,000 refugees are currently living in Iraq, creating even greater humanitarian needs.
Iraqi people have demonstrated an ability to rise again and again from crisis. They continue to strive to build better lives and transform their communities. With the right support and opportunities, they have a strong chance at building a better future.
In Iraq, Mercy Corps is led by Country Director Tanya Evans, who oversees a multi-national team of more than 350 staff across 9 offices. With our national headquarters split between the capital in Baghdad and Erbil in the north, we have significant operations in Mosul and Kirkuk, with additional teams based across the country. Our deep understanding of the issues facing Iraq comes from our staff, more than 92 percent of whom call Iraq their lifelong home.
2019 is a critical turning point on the road to recovery; Mercy Corps will continue to work hand in hand with communities, supporting them to rebuild their lives by increasing livelihood opportunities through trainings and business cash grants, providing healing psychosocial and education support to youth who have had to drop out, rebuilding water and sanitation systems, and facilitating programmes that foster social cohesion among communities.
Our work in Iraq addresses urgent needs for aid, support and resources for its people while making long-term investments in community recovery. Here are some of our results to date:
- Last year, we reached more than 1 million people inside Iraq with lifesaving assistance and resources to build a better life for their families.
- Since September 2017, we’ve distributed winter kits and hygiene kits to more than 32,000 people.
- Since September 2017, we’ve educated more than 153,600 parents, caregivers, and school staff on the importance of education and education rights.
- Our social cohesion programming resulted in groups working together to improve water and electricity services for over 39,700 Iraqis.
How to help
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.
Iraq: Voting in Iraq: an act of faith
The biggest issue that regularly confounds me each time I vote here in Seattle is finding a postage stamp. Despite this, I have become a strong believer in the mail-in ballot, mostly because I don't have to haul myself to the polls at seven o'clock in the morning before I head off to work.
Iraq: A palpable sense of accomplishment in Baghdad
On Sunday morning, election day in Iraq, I was awakened by a text message from a colleague telling me to get to a safe spot. Turns out I had slept through the first of dozens of bombs that would occur on election day in Iraq.
Iraq: Happy International Women's Day
I’m blogging again today to wish you all a Happy International Women’s Day.
Iraq: Iraqi staff with purple fingers
Here are some our Baghdad staff who participated in yesterday's elections. They are proudly displaying their purple index fingers, which signifies that they voted.
Iraq: Iraqi women learn about democracy as elections approach
Living and working in Baghdad these days seems to be about waiting.
Iraq: Celebrating peace in Khanaqin
In Khanaqin, Iraq, Mercy Corps and the local branch of the National Olympic Committee organised a wonderful festival for the International Day of Peace. The day involved children reading a poem and releasing white doves before a football match in Azadi Stadium.