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A volunteer from the International Rescue Committee holds a pen while two Syrian refugees point to an item on the page the volunteer is writing on.
Beyond refugee camps

Jordan

The International Rescue Committee provides crucial support to Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians living in harsh and unsafe conditions.

Country facts
  • Population: 9.5 million
  • Number of refugees: 1 of every 13 people
  • Rank in Human Development Index: 80
IRC response
  • Started work in Jordan: 2007
  • People assisted in 2015: 122,931

Jordan crisis briefing

Over 600,000 Syrians have fled to Jordan since the onset of the Syrian conflict. Most live outside of formal refugee camps. The IRC provides healthcare, works to protect and empower women and girls, and runs economic programs for refugees and strained host communities.

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What caused the crisis in Jordan?

Jordan has been a nation of refuge for people fleeing violence in neighboring countries since the mid-twentieth century. However, the recent influx of over 600,000 Syrians has placed the country under significant strain.

Domestic issues such as water scarcity, high unemployment rates and overtaxed schools are only being made worse. As a result, refugees struggle to earn a living, keep their children in school, and get adequate food and health care.

What are the main humanitarian challenges?

Most refugees in Jordan are living in urban areas where they are depleting their savings to pay rent or sheltering in abandoned buildings.  

IRC community health volunteers in Jordan visit a Syrian refugee family living on the outskirts of Irbid in northern Jordan. Photo: Timea Fauszt/IRC

Women, in particular, are in need of protection. Life as a refugee dramatically increases a woman’s chance of experiencing violence, whether in the home or out in the community.

Refugees who can’t make ends meet in Jordan often resort to desperate measures, like sending their children to work, or even returning to Syria.

How does the IRC help in Jordan?

The IRC’s mission is to provide humanitarian assistance, medical care and other support to refugees living in extremely harsh conditions. The IRC also provides support to vulnerable communities that host refugees.

We began our work in Jordan in 2007 with refugees from Iraq. With the arrival of refugees from Syria in 2012, we ramped up operations, which now include primary health care, mobile outreach, and empowerment programs for those in need. As Jordan struggles to accommodate Syrian refugees, the IRC is focusing our efforts on the northern cities of Mafraq, Irbid and Ramtha by:

  • running centers for women and girls that offer skills trainings, counseling and recreational activities, and cash assistance;
  • providing temporary care and shelter in both Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps for unaccompanied and separated children;
  • running health clinics and dispatching mobile medical teams to provide care for refugees and Jordanians living in poverty;
  • helping people manage their finances and find legal employment opportunities so they can provide for their families.

In addition to assisting Syrian refugees in Jordan, we are providing relief to millions of uprooted Syrians inside their war-ravaged country; in neighboring Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey; in Greece and Serbia; and in our 26 resettlement offices in the United States. Read more about our global refugee crisis response.

What still needs to be done?

The IRC’s work in Jordan is needed now more than ever as the country struggles to accommodate the influx of desperate refugees. We pledge to put the needs of those most affected by crisis at the forefront of our efforts and to achieve measurable improvements in health, safety, education, and economic wellbeing. Here’s a closer look at some of the work we will be doing over the next few years to achieve our goals.

IRC nurse Raba'a Hatamleh works at a clinic in Mafraq, Jordan for Syrian refugees. Photo: Timea Fauszt/IRC

We will continue to support Syrians who have fled their war-torn home, with a particular focus on ensuring the health and safety of women and girls. We will also continue to help vulnerable Jordanian communities that are opening their doors to these refugees.

IRC teams and partners currently reach over 122,000 people in Jordan with lifesaving support. Our strategy for Jordan leading up to the year 2020 will focus on the following areas:

Health

People should be protected from illness and receive medical treatment when they need it. As the largest provider of health care for refugees in Jordan living outside refugee camps, the IRC will continue to prevent and treat communicable and non-communicable diseases. Filling a global research gap, the IRC is studying how our health approach and services in Jordan impact remote refugee populations.

Mental health is a significant issue in Jordan, particularly among Syrian refugees. The IRC will work to ensure people are protected from and treated for the physical and mental consequences of violence. We are also committed to transforming harmful gender norms and reducing inequalities that impede women’s and girls’ health.

Safety

People should be safe in their homes and communities, and receive support when they experience harm. The IRC is a leading provider of women’s protection and empowerment programs in Jordan; we will continue to ensure that women and girls are equally safe from harm as men and boys where they live, learn and work. We will also continue our work providing care and support to unaccompanied and separated children in refugee camps.

The IRC plans to broaden the scope of our protection services by providing legal advice and information to Syrians and Jordanians in need and ensuring the inclusion of men and boys. Expanding our reach, we will partner with local organizations to help in rural areas through our mobile services.

Education

School-aged children should have access to quality educational resources; they should be able to develop age-appropriate literacy, numeracy, and social and emotional skills. The IRC will continue to address the unmet needs of Syrian refugees and Jordanian children. We will also work to ensure that women and girls are afforded the same educational opportunities as men and boys.

Economic wellbeing

People should have the means to meet basic needs; they should have opportunities to earn an income and build their assets. We will continue to arm refugee and host communities with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.

The IRC will help Syrian refugees access safe and legal job opportunities. We will also support the economic wellbeing of women and girls by training them in finance and small business management skills.

Download the IRC Jordan strategy action plan to learn more about our program priorities through 2020.

Our impact

113,000+

Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians with critical primary and reproductive health care.

Millions of people, particularly women and children, die from preventable causes in countries affected by violent conflict and natural disasters.

Explore our health work.
5,200+

vulnerable children with specialized services and essential care such as shelter, food and counseling.

We are on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week to welcome and care for unaccompanied and separated children and locate their relatives.

Read one boy’s story.
12,000+

women and girls with life skills trainings, counseling and recreational activities.

The IRC in Jordan helped Samaher cope with her life as refugee and help support her family by providing cash assistance.

Read her story.

News and features

Rescue stories

  • I want to work...on empowering women to speak up in our society where men are those who make decisions at home. I want women to be able to speak up without being afraid, say their opinions, make their own decisions."
    Through the IRC's Vision not Victim program, Nour, a Syrian refugee living in Jordan, was able to envision her future as a lawyer.
  • If the war in Syria ends ... we’ll think about going back, but for now, we have settled here in Jordan. I want to enhance our lives here. I want to keep volunteering. I want to give my children a good life and an education."
    Amira volunteers with the IRC to bring lifesaving health care to fellow Syrian refugees in Jordan
  • I want to give a voice to those children who otherwise would never be heard...They are strong, amazing children and will do great things with their lives."
    Mustafa Hassan, named one of TIME's 100 most influential people in 2015, helps children separated from their families reunite with relatives.