Situation overview

The conflict in Syria is entering its 12th year, and it is a protracted crisis. It has left around 6 million people displaced within the country, and another 5.5 seeking refuge, primarily in neighboring countries and northern Africa. The number of returns to Syria is very low as the conditions for safe dignified, voluntary, and sustainable returns are currently not in place. As of June 2021, Jordan is officially hosting 668,332 registered Syrian refugees, although the total number of Syrian refugees in the country is estimated to be more than double that number. Over three quarters are living in Jordanian host communities, primarily in the three governorates in the north of the country: Irbid, Zarqa, and Mafraq. In some areas, refugees outnumber Jordanians, creating tension over dwindling public and natural resources.

A quarter of all refugees live in the three camps of Za’atari (as of June 2021, 79,493 refugees), Azraq (as of June 2021, 37,717), and Emirati Jordanian. Two out of three refugee households live below the Jordanian poverty line. The most vulnerable tend to be female-headed households and children, as well as households that include people with disabilities. Unable to earn money or with reduced mobility, women, children, and the disabled are at a particular risk of sexual harassment and exploitation and negative coping mechanisms. This situation has aggravated in the wake of COVID-19. The situation overall has created severe implications for future generations of Syrians.

LWF response

Following an invitation by the local Lutheran Church, LWF has been active in Jordan since 2012. Over this period of operation, LWF Jordan has built up a track record in three programmatic areas: Livelihoods, Quality Services (Education) and Protection & Social Cohesion, targeting Syrian and Iraqi refugees and vulnerable Jordanians. LWF is present in local communities and in the Zaatari camp. Over this period, LWF has provided assistance to more than 320,000 refugees and vulnerable individuals.  In 2020 alone, the LWF Jordan country program supported more than 70,000 individuals through protection and social cohesion, livelihoods, and quality services, primarily in education.


LWF seeks to economically empower and increase the resilience of vulnerable and marginalized households and communities. This is done by increasing market-based, transferable, safe, and sustainable income generation opportunities, particularly for women and youth.

In 2020, 82% of the participants in LWF Jordan livelihood projects reported improved access to food.

Quality Services

In Education, LWF focuses on improving the quality of physical and social learning environments for pupils and teachers in public schools. LWF works on improving access to the formal education system or to alternative training for vulnerable out of school children and youth.

In the period 2015 – 2020, LWF Jordan improved learning environments in 175 schools in Jordan. In 2020 alone, 37 schools benefitted from an improved learning environment through the LWF Jordan education program.

Protection and Social Cohesion

Through its community centers in host communities and camp in the northern governorates of Jordan, LWF Jordan offer counseling and case management services, as well as a variety of life skills and community-based activities intended to promote resilience, awareness-raising, and advocacy.

In 2020, 84% of those accessing LWF Jordan psychosocial support services in its three community centers in Irbid, Zarqa, and Zaatari report an increased sense of well-being.

Cross-cutting priorities

Throughout its programming, LWF Iraq ensures a rights-based, gender-responsive and climate-sensitive approach, focusing on local capacity building and ensuring meaningful participation of vulnerable and minority groups.

Promoting and raising awareness among men and women, girls and boys on equal rights, while providing specific opportunities for engagement to uphold such rights, remains a priority across all LWF Jordan programs.

Peace Oasis and Smurf Centre in Za’atari camp

LWF Jordan opened its first community center in the Za'atari camp in 2012. Throughout the last nine-year period, the LWF Peace Oasis has provided a safe space for families to gather and find support in the midst of the ongoing crisis. Centrally located in Za'atari camp, the Peace Oasis provides youth programming and support for caregivers and adults. The center focuses on a holistic approach to support youth and families to ensure that every home in the camp will be a safe and healthy place for children.

In May 2019, LWF Jordan established the first daycare center in Za’atari camp, the Smurf Centre. The center targets children from 3-5 years old, who are offered kindergarten / pre-school education and activities in an outdoor playground. One of the reasons for establishing the center was to enable their primary caregivers, their mothers, to attend relevant training sessions, and to find work in or outside the camp. In parallel with opening the Smurf Centre, LWF has increased the focus on livelihood activities for young adults in the Peace Oasis.

A musical tribute to the refugees of Za'atari camp

Former LWF World Service committee member, musician, and medical student, Jenny Moe, dedicated her song You, Me, and War to the 85,000 Syrians who have made their home in the Za'atari refugee camp, over the border in Jordan. Jenny encourages you to watch the video and support the Syria appeal.


Watch video

Learn more about video



Updated 30 July 2021


Help us make a difference in the lives of people in need in Jordan and other places throughout the world.




Funding partners include

  • Act Church of Sweden
  • All We Can
  • Brot für die Welt
  • Canadian Lutheran World Relief
  • Czech Diakonia ECCB
  • Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe
  • Dutch Lutherans
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria
  • Food and Agricultural Organization      
  • German National Committee
  • Government of Canada (through Global Affairs Canada)
  • Icelandic Church Aid
  • Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (Canada)
  • The EU Regional Development and Protection Programme
  • UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs




Facts and figures