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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


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

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+

Jordan 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.

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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 670,000 Syrians has placed the country under significant strain.

Jordan continues to face a number of domestic challenges such as extreme water scarcity, high unemployment rates and an increasing number of poor people. As a result, refugees struggle more than ever to earn a living, keep their children in school, and get adequate food, housing and health care.

A Syrian woman with her child living in Jordan
More than 670,000 Syrians have fled to Jordan since the onset of the Syrian conflict. Photo: Timea Fauszt/IRC

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 and children, in particular, are at greater risks of experiencing violence, whether in our outside the home, 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 going back to their places of origin, even if it is not yet safe for them to return.

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;
  • 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 and Lebanon; in Greece and Serbia; and in our more than 20 resettlement offices in the United States. Read more about our global refugee crisis response.

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

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 120,000 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. In Jordan, the cost and legal barriers to accessing health have led to a health crisis amongst Syrian refugees living outside formal camps. 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. Responding to 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 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. 

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.

Four-year-old Rasha fled from Raqqa, Syria to Jordan three years ago, after ISIS took control of their hometown. She loves participating in the IRC and Sesame Workshop program 'Ahlan Simsim,' where she paints, draws, listens to stories and learns in a playful way together with other children her age. Photo: Lisa Hastert/IRC


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 equip 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.

News and features

Press releases

Rescue stories

  • 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 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.
  • 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.