About Us

QANDIL is a not-for-profit, non-governmental, non-political, and non-religious Swedish humanitarian aid organization that was founded in 1991 in Stockholm, Sweden. Initially focusing on raising awareness on the rights of the people of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, QANDIL’s operations gradually extended to providing humanitarian aid in other parts of the country as well.

QANDIL has traditionally been funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). However, various UN agencies have recently become QANDIL’s most important funders as well. Through its wide range of humanitarian activities and joint projects in the three governorates of Duhok, Erbil, and Suleimaniya over the last few years, QANDIL has now grown to become one of the biggest implementing partners of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. QANDIL has also received funding from UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, and many other smaller donors and the private sector.

With its head office in Stockholm, where the 7-member Board of Directors resides and meets, QANDIL currently has offices in Duhok, Erbil, and Suleimaniya, and employs more than 250 full-time staff. QANDIL’s operations in Iraq are led by a team of professional staff in the Country Management Office (CMO) based Erbil.

QANDIL’s reputation as an international non-governmental organization lies in the high quality and quantity of projects it has implemented in various parts of Iraq, especially the Kurdistan Region. Since the beginning of its humanitarian efforts in 1991, QANDIL has always remained loyal to its promise and never left the region. It has been there in times of armed conflict, unrest, civil war, and during peace to rebuild the devastated rural and urban areas.

To meet the demanding urgencies and to respond to the deadly humanitarian crises that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has been witnessing since the beginning of 2014, QANDIL has exerted and maximized all immediate and urgent efforts to maintain its uninterrupted humanitarian commitment and the principles by which it has always abided. QANDIL has worked, and is working, on projects in the following areas:

Construction and Infrastructure:

  • Shelter, Camps, Community Centers
  • Hospitals, Clinics, (including supplies)
  • Schools, Kindergartens, Playgrounds
  • Warehouses, Offices, Compounds, etc.


Health, Water, and Sanitation:

  • Distribution of Hygiene Kits
  • Supplying Health Equipment
  • Water Wells and Dams
  • Sewage and Water Networks, etc.


Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and Returnees:

  • Vulnerability and Risk Assessments
  • Identification of Extremely Vulnerable Individuals (EVIs)
  • Registration Services
  • Legal Aid
  • Protection Services
  • Camp Management and Maintenance
  • Residency Permit Assistance
  • Community Services
  • Cash Assistance Distribution
  • Reintegration Services
  • Distribution of Food, Winterization, and Non-Food Items, etc.


Capacity Building:

  • Awareness Raising
  • Life Skills and Vocational Training
  • Human Rights, Psychological Aid, etc.


Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, the mission of QANDIL Swedish Humanitarian Aid Organization (1991) is to improve the lives of vulnerable people, including local communities, internally displaced people (IDPs), refugees, and returnees of all ages and groups. QANDIL specializes in planning and implementing developmental and humanitarian relief projects and initiatives in areas of, but not limited to: Construction and infrastructure; Water, sanitation, health, and hygiene; Capacity building, livelihood, and awareness raising; Emergency response; and Protection.

In 1991 Qandil started its work in Iraq, in the Kurdish region (KRG) in the Governorates of Erbil, Duhok and Sulaimaniya. Qandil’s work to improve the water and sewerage infrastructure in Iraq, today provides more than two million people in the villages and towns of northern Iraq with water and more than a million people have benefited to date from Qandil’s work in the health sector whose programs were funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation agency (Sida) and UNCHR.


The first assistance initiatives included building houses for refugees and operating mobile health teams. The operation was subsequently extended to include water and sanitation projects as well as small-scale agricultural activities.

In 1995, Qandil entered into cooperation partnerships with the UN, ECHO, DG1 and OFDA. Increased funding led to expansion, particularly within water and sanitation and construction projects.

The driving force behind Qandil’s operation is the eradication of poverty and assisting those in most need in disadvantaged areas. Various development projects have been added to our activities in recent years, primarily within the area of water and the environment.