DRC has been active in Jordan since 2003 where it first responded to the Iraqi refugee crisis. Since mid-2012, DRC has been active in a multi-sector Syrian response. DRC focused its operations in Amman Governorate, which hosts more than a quarter of the Syrian refugees in the country, as well as in the underserved southern governorates of Tafileh, Karak and Ma’an where DRC is well-known for being the only INGO with a continuous presence, serving Syrian refugees, new comers and vulnerable Jordanian households. DRC is also working with host communities in Irbid and Mafraq governorates, and started operations in Azraq refugee camp in 2016.

Emergency response to the Syrian conflict-affected population

At the end of 2016, Jordan is host to approximately 724,000 registered refugees.  Jordan hosts the second highest number (87) of refugees per 1,000 inhabitants in the world. Among them, 656,000 are Syrian refugees, 58,455 are Iraqi refugees registered with the UNHCR and 16,000 are Palestine refugees from Syria registered with UNRWA. UNHCR also estimates that there are over 10,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from other nationalities (mainly Yemeni and Sudanese). In addition to these registered refugees, an unknown number of unregistered refugees reside in Jordan.  Approximately 20% of Syrian refugees live in the three camps situated in the Northern governorates (Za’atari, Azraq and the Emirati Camp). With Za’atari at full capacity (80,000 individuals), any Syrian refugees who enter Jordan are now sent to Azraq Camp. In 2016, 20,000 people were admitted to Jordan from the berm and transferred to Azraq refugee camp, doubling the active population of the camp and creating pressure on support for basic needs and services.

Jordan’s 2016 country strategy was driven by the need to adapt to the changed livelihood context following the London conference in March which opened legal work opportunities for refugees. DRC thus focused its work on ensuring that basic protection principals were respected in view of the growing national and international pressure to deliver work permits to refugees. In addition DRC adapted its referral, counselling and training services to include much needed support in linking refugees with potential new job opportunities. 2016 also saw the opening of a third SANAD community center in the underprivileged Nuzha neighborhood of East Amman which means that DRC now runs 4 community centers in Jordan with a fifth center planned to open in Mafraq in March, 2017. Through its community centers DRC continues to provide much needed protection and livelihood services to both refugees and host communities with the overarching aim of improving social cohesion between these two communities. Through its centers in Amman, Karak, and Ma’an DRC provided services to over 17, 815 individuals in 2016.

In early 2016, DRC established a presence in Azraq camp to support vulnerable women, youth and adults refugees in Azraq camp in meeting their basic needs through temporary work employment and skills-building opportunities, leading to small business development in the planned Azraq marketplace. The skills and experience gained in this approach will serve both to improve social protection and poverty alleviation among refugees, while also preparing them for future productive activities in a post-conflict Syria. Currently, DRC provides livelihood activities; which include cash for-work, skills development, productive income-generating activities and a market assessment. In preparation for durable solutions, DRC emphasizes the necessary link between skills development and self-reliance in its activities by ensuring all trainees are provided with income generating opportunities upon successful completion of an advanced skills development course. 

Protection remains a cross-cutting priority for DRC interventions through the provision of up to date information regarding available services and refugees’ rights as Asylum card holders and tailored referrals to a growing number of partners from different sectors. Following a rights- based approach, DRC is committed to provide the most vulnerable with dignified access to basic services in a non-discriminatory manner and integrates participation and empowerment strategies in all programming.

DRC Jordan worked to strengthen the protective environment in local communities, empowering beneficiaries from refugee and host communities to protect themselves and others, and to claim their rights. Protection services were provided to approximately 22,540 individuals through activities delivering protection information provision and counselling, awareness sessions, protection monitoring and support for individuals with documentation challenges, psychosocial support, referrals and cash assistance where appropriate. To ensure we are reaching the most vulnerable populations, DRC maintained and further developed its network with other INGOs, UN agencies, CBOs and other service providers in Jordan. Finally with the change in livelihood context in Jordan in 2016, DRC ensured strong linkages between its protection and livelihood programing advocating actively to ensure protection safeguards are in place for refugees entering the labor market.

Longer term support to host communities’ capacities

DRC is a leading protection and livelihoods agency in Jordan which actively empowers displacement-affected communities in assuming and coordinating their own protection measures, building their productive self-reliance capacities and actively engaging in livelihoods opportunities that prepare them for durable solutions.

DRC’s country strategy in Jordan aspires to deliver high quality, contextually driven programming responding across the continuum of needs of displacement affected individuals and communities. By maintain a leadership role in the humanitarian community and in developing agile, protection focused and locally-driven programming, DRC will remain a partner and advocate of choice in Jordan. Through interventions in camp and host community settings and working both directly and through local institutions, DRC Jordan aims to ensure that its beneficiaries are active participants in programming in their own communities and not passive recipients of aid. Finally, in developing and deepening its strategic partnerships with private sector actors, government ministries and strong local civil society actors, DRC aims to progressively link its gap-filling assistance will longer term recovery and economic development initiatives that will serve the resilience objectives of Jordan and its displaced populations


DRC’s partnership approach builds on the available national capacities in order to empower and support community members and local institutions to continue high quality programs in protection and livelihoods beyond external support. Community DRC recognizes that national level actors can provide substantial complementarity to DRC’s approach and working through local partners provides a significant opportunity for delivering sustainable change As a key part of its long-term strategy, DRC works closely with a number of local NGOs including the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization (JHCO),  the Arab World Centre for  Democratic Development and Human Rights (Uni-HRD), the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development ( JOHUD), the Jordan River Foundation, and the Noor Al Hussein Foundation.

In 2016, DRC received financial support from DANIDA, ECHO, GIZ, BPRM, UNOCHA, Europe Aid, DFATD, CIC Canada, Ole Kirk’s Foundation, King Frederik Foundation and DRC’s own funds.