Country facts

  • Population: 9.7 million
  • Number of refugees: 670,000 Syrian refugees
  • Rank in Human Development Index: 95

IRC response

  • Started work in Jordan: 2007
  • People assisted in 2018: 120,000+

Crisis briefing

Since the onset of the Syrian conflict, Jordan has welcomed over 670,000 Syrian refugees. Four out of five Syrian refugees in Jordan live in urban areas—majority under poverty. The IRC provides healthcare, works to protect and empower women and girls, and runs economic programs for refugees and strained host communities.

What caused the crisis in Jordan?

Jordan has been a nation of refuge for people fleeing violence in neighbouring 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.  

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 programmes 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, counselling 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 neighbouring 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.

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:


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.


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 programmes 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 organisations to help in rural areas through our mobile services.


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 programme priorities until 2020.

Rescue stories

My ultimate goal? To secure my kids’ future, let them live well and make them happy. Having my own business makes me feel free and happy, like I am an effective member of society.
Tarek fled Syria in 2012. He started his own hairdressing salon in Jordan to support his family.
Read his story
Tarek's story of ambition