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The Syrian conflict and violent conflicts within Iraq have related in the movement of almost one million Syrian refugees and Iraqi IDPs into Kurdistan in recent years. The Danish Refugee Council commissioned this EMMA in order to assess opportunities in livelihoods generation and access to income for Syrian refugees and IDPs living in and outside of camps, in order to inform its livelihoods programming. The influx of refugees and IDPs has increased pressure on the labor market in KRI. This is exacerbated by a drop in demand for construction due to conflicts between the KRI and the central Iraqi governments and a drop in demand for hospitality services due to insecurity in the region and the relative economic standstill. Though many NGOs are offering humanitarian assistance and cash for work programs to the target population, these interventions are of relatively low economic benefit to beneficiaries and are not a long-term solution. This assessment recommends the following responses in order to improve access to labor markets and income generation for Syrian refugees and Iraqi IDPs: improved efforts to target IDPs and refugees in non-camp settings with humanitarian assistance; raising the target groups' awareness of locally available jobs and building their capacity to find decent jobs; promoting job placement mechanisms; partnering with private sector actors to invest in potentially valuable value chains; promoting innovation in small enterprises; conducting market analyses on access to credit for small businesses and on agriculture and related labor; and advocating with humanitarian actors for a phase-out of short-term interventions.


Report authors: 
Emmeline Saint
Download Report (4.14 MB pdf)