Markets, whether large or small, keep communities thriving. But conflicts, disasters and a lack of infrastructure can prevent people from conducting the daily transactions on which all growth and progress depend. Around the world, Mercy Corps discovers why commerce is stuck.
In some places, manufacturers need loans to purchase equipment and young people desire job skills. In others, key transportation routes to market must be rebuilt or farmers require better storage to keep their inventory fresh until sold.
Our economic development projects provide financing, equipment, training or technical support. These projects help people find jobs, build their businesses, supply their communities with the goods they need —and improve their lives.
All stories about Economic opportunity
Tajikistan: It's lunchtime! June 22, 2009
Working out in the field is exhilarating for so many reasons. It’s a chance to see the programme in action; to meet with locals and hear their stories; and to take in the stunning landscape that this country offers so effortlessly. Oh, and then there’s lunch.
Becoming Abla June 19, 2009
A man does what he must to provide for his family. But in the small West African nation of Togo, it goes much deeper than that: each man is assigned a name based on the things he does, and is constantly judged by it.
Kosovo: Creating opportunities for Kosovo's youth June 11, 2009
Kosovo is the youngest country in Europe, both in terms of its statehood and its demographics. Half of the country’s population is under the age of 25, and many of these young people depart for work abroad or are supported by relatives.
Indonesia: Dishing out healthy street food June 10, 2009
This photo was taken at a Mercy Corps-sponsored food cart in north Jakarta, Indonesia. The woman in the photo is the Vice Governor of Jakarta. She was in a neighboring community and heard about the Healthy Street Foods project and got so excited that she stopped by the opening event.
Kyrgyzstan: Leaving a Blooming Legacy June 4, 2009
The 2,000 people of Tosor are proud of their little lakeside village. Located at the base of a spectacular mountain range, on the shores of one of the world's largest mountain lakes, Tosor boasts a long history of writers, painters and composers.
Myanmar: Helping Myanmar, one year after the storm May 21, 2009
Indonesia: Nineteen: Cahyan, tofu snack seller May 15, 2009
Cahyan, 45, sells a tofu specialty called tahu gejrot from a food stall in Jakarta's affluent Menteng neighborhood. He also prepares this dish for catered events; in all, he earns up to £581 a month.
Indonesia: Nineteen: Hasanuddin, water seller May 15, 2009
Hasanuddin, 44, operates a small food stall and sells water in an illegal settlement under a toll road in Jakarta. He says that he earns "enough to survive."
Indonesia: Nineteen: Eni, jamu seller May 15, 2009
Eni, 31, sells a traditional herbal medicine called jamu from a basket that she carries around the dockyards and fish markets of North Jakarta. She's made as much as £145 in a month to support her family.
Indonesia: Nineteen: Hepi, soto ayam soup seller May 15, 2009
Hepi, 47, sells chicken soup every day on Platform 3 at Central Jakarta's Kota Train Station. He earns between £132-£198 each month, and lives in a small rented house near the train station while his family lives in a different part of town.