Civil Society & Governance

IRD works predominantly in conflict zones, fragile states, and slowly maturing democracies where well-functioning democratic institutions have not been the norm. In such societies, citizens and communities may not be familiar with or open to organizing and engaging with local government and community leadership organizations—unless they perceive an immediate and tangible benefit. IRD’s approach to civil society and community development cuts across all sectors of IRD’s work: we mainstream citizen engagement in improving access to economic opportunities, health, education, infrastructure, social resources, and services. IRD’s approach is especially relevant as the international community responds to calls for more open and responsive governance in the Middle East and elsewhere in the developing world. IRD builds partnerships among actors and organizations at the community level, local governments, and the private sector. We encourage participatory decision-making processes and develop grassroots capacity to make long-term improvements to community living standards. IRD’s work:

  • Promotes local economic and social development.
  • Informs citizens about the responsibilities and benefits of democratic governance and human rights.
  • Encourages participation of women and youth in civil society.
  • Develops and promotes civil society networks.
  • Fosters direct linkages and input from local communities to local government.

Featured Capabilities

Capacity Building

IRD supports communities to become self-sufficient – to guide their own learning, l... more

Conflict Victim Assistance

Early Programming From 2005 to 2010, IRD ran an Iraq-based program to provide emer... more


By supporting the full range of children’s educational needs, IRD and its partners... more

Health Integration

IRD has accumulated valuable experience in approaching development from a multisect... more

Refugees and IDPs

IRD Jordan: Relieving Social Isolation through Sport        ... more

Women & Gender

IRD has a proud history of commitment to women’s issues since our founding in 1998.... more


Afghanistan Civilian Assistance Program

The Afghan Civilian Assistance Program (ACAP) II is a civilian assistance program i... more

Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Productive Agriculture

AVIPA and AVIPA Plus were relief and stabilization programs funded by USAID and imp... more

Closing Emergency Gaps to Aid Victims of Displacement in Colombia

Colombia’s struggle against drug production and export, terrorism, and other armed... more

Community Based Support for Iraqis

The goal of the Community-Based Support Program (CBSP), funded by the Department of... more

Community Cohesion in Northern Iraq

Conflict and instability have become daily features of Iraqi life. In northern Iraq... more

Community Mobilization for Partnership in Schools

The Community Mobilization for Partnership in Schools (CMP) project is a five-year... more

Community Revitalization through Democratic Action

CRDA began as a community mobilization initiative and evolved to emphasize economic... more

Community Services and Assistance to Refugees and Asylum-Seekers in Yemen

Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world and consistently ranks at the bottom... more

Community Stabilization Program in Iraq

The Community Stabilization Program (CSP) helped stabilize and economically revital... more

Community-Based Support Program

The Community-Based Support Program (CBSP) builds the capacity of Iraqi refugees li... more

Construction Trades Training Center

Efforts to rebuild Afghanistan have been seriously hampered by the lack of qualifie... more

Creating Jobs in the West Bank

The Gaza Employment Generation through NGOs Program (GEGNP) aided students in the G... more

Cultivating Inclusive & Supportive Learning Environments in Jordan’s Schools

The Cultivating Inclusive & Supportive Learning Environments (CISLE) project aimed... more

Cultural Bridges to Reconciliation in Iraq

Iraq’s process of rebuilding internally and creating a strong democracy begins with... more

Distribution of Radios in South Sudan

Sudan is the largest country in Africa, one-third the size of the United States, an... more

Entrepreneurship for Refugees Program in Lebanon

Iraqis have fled conflict in their own country to live in many other nations in the... more

Grassroots Theater Initiative

The Grassroots Theater Initiative introduced theater founded on the “theater of the... more

Gulf Coast Community Services Center

The IRD Gulf Coast Community Service Center (GCCSC) has been rebuilding the lives o... more

Increasing Community and Private-Sector Involvement in Education

Sindh is Pakistan’s second largest province in population and economic output. Desp... more

Iraq Community Action Program

The Iraq Community Action Program (ICAP) aims to foster democratic principles of go... more

Iraq Cultural Heritage Program

In the immediate aftermath of the removal of Sadaam Hussein’s government in 2003, t... more

Iraq Mothers and Daughters Empowerment Program

Many rural women in Iraq live in extreme poverty. Only 37 percent of rural women ca... more

Kosovo Cultural Heritage Program

Though one of the world’s youngest countries and with the youngest population in Eu... more

Outreach Services for Syrian & Iraqi Refugees

The Outreach for Syrian and Iraqi Refugees (OSIR 6) program supports UNHCR outreach... more

Peace through Development

The Sahel region of West Africa is increasingly threatened by violent extremist gro... more

Restoring Peace through Social and Economic Reintegration

In July 2011 the largest country in Africa became two nations, the Republic of Suda... more


The word serasi means “harmony” in many of Indonesia’s languages. The USAID-funded... more

Serbia Youth Center

The Belgrade Youth Center, also known as Dom Omladine, served as a venue for major... more

Southern Regional Agricultural Development in Afghanistan

The Southern Regional Agricultural Development (S-RAD) program works to increase lo... more

Support for Minorities in Iraq

Religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq have long faced discrimination; many still... more

Supporting Effective Governance for Greater Stability in Afghanistan

Building citizens’ confidence and trust in government are fundamental to achieving... more

The Serbia Agribusiness Project

The Serbian Agribusiness Project (SAP), funded by USAID, is assisting the Serbian a... more

Women First

IRD has been implementing the Women First program since 2005 in an effort to empowe... more

Working with the Displaced in Colombia

Colombia has served as an international leader in the challenge of bringing democra... more