Founded at Albert Einstein’s request, the IRC offers lifesaving aid and solutions to today’s most challenging human crises.

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.


IRC started work in Nigeria and  in 2012, in response to flooding launched emergency response in 2014 to assist survivors of violence

People assisted in 2015 is over 1 million and people we hope to reach per year by 2020 is 5 million

The International Rescue Committee provides vital support to Nigerians struggling to overcome a daunting combination of poverty, corruption, natural disaster and terror to rebuild their livelihoods, respect and future.

The IRC’s mission is to help people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future.

We first began assisting Nigerians in 2012, providing aid to over 800,000 people who lost their homes after a massive flood. In 2014, we launched an emergency response in the city of Yola, where we provided water, food and emergency shelters, health and nutrition, informal education and protection services for tens of thousands of desperate people. The IRC now has offices in Yola, Mubi, and Maiduguri, all in the northeast. 

As the country struggles to recover from relentless terror attacks, the IRC is focusing our efforts in northeastern Nigeria by:

  • working with local health care facilities to reduce malnutrition and improve water, sanitation and hygiene;

  • constructing emergency shelters and latrines for people who are unable to live with a host family;

  • distributing food vouchers, mosquito nets and essential household items;

  • organizing safe spaces where children can play and regain a sense of a normal childhood;

  • providing classes for displaced children to advance their reading and math skills;

  • providing programs for women and children who have suffered from violence and abuse.

What still needs to be done?

Ensuring people are protected from violence and have access to enough food remains critical: A large percentage of the population suffers from malnutrition. Women, girls and other vulnerable groups are subject to exploitation and abuse, and children often have no access to education. 

Girls fetch water at an IRC-installed pump at the St. Theresa church compound in Yola. Photo: Peter Biro/IRC

The global humanitarian response to Nigeria has been inadequate to the challenges posed by the sheer number of people displaced by violence and natural disaster. Sustainable gains in Nigeria will require not only increased emergency response but new emphasis on helping people affected by crisis to earn enough income to meet their basic needs. Improving the economic wellbeing of women and girls will be a particular focus for the IRC over the next few years.   

Download the IRC's Nigeria strategy action plan to learn more about our program priorities through 2020.

The violent seven-year conflict originating in Nigeria has intensified in the last three years and spread across borders into Chad, Niger and Cameroon, causing a growing humanitarian crisis in a region known as the Lake Chad Basin. Read recommendations from the IRC and other aid groups working in the region in our Sep 2016 policy paper: "Lake Chad's unseen crisis."

Femi Kuti meets with survivors of Boko Haram terror in Nigeria

World-renowned musician Femi Kuti is working to raise awareness of the crisis in northeastern Nigeria. He recently traveled to Maiduguri and Yola to meet with some of his fellow Nigerians who fled Boko Haram and to see the International Rescue Committee's crisis response in action.

The crisis in northeastern Nigeria is man-made, but the solutions are too.

A baby I met at an International Rescue Committee clinic in Maiduguri was injured by Boko Haram before he was even born. Four months after his mother, Kawsey, was shot in the chest and shoulder by insurgents while running through the bush to escape an attack, his eyes dart back and forth uncontrollably –

Empowering women and girls

The International Rescue Committee runs 42 such centers to empower girls in areas of northeastern Nigeria that were already suffering widespread poverty and unemployment before the conflict began.