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
Haiti: Female entrepreneurs bounce back April 6, 2012
Haiti is a land of micro-entrepreneurs. In every town, on every street, shopkeepers, traders and craftsmen are working hard to provide their communities with the essential goods and services of daily life — and in so doing, lift their own families from poverty.
West Bank and Gaza: Online Arabic freelancer network launches in Gaza April 5, 2012
After winning third place in the first-ever Startup Weekend in Gaza this past December, AnaLancer has launched an “expert-sourcing platform” that connects freelancers from the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) with business owners worldwide.
Iraq: Empowered youth build stronger society April 2, 2012
Salahadin in one of the hardest hit provinces in Iraq. Just north of Baghdad, services here are hard to come by and the security situation is often critical. But it is also the centre of a groundswell of civic activism and organisation.
Japan: Seaweed harvest brings fresh start to coastal towns March 9, 2012
If you have ever eaten a traditional Japanese meal, chances are you’ve had a taste of wakame seaweed. Harvested in early spring, it is most often served in soups and salads.
Japan: Small business owners revitalize their communities March 9, 2012
Thanks to generous donations from NVIDIA and World Vision, Mercy Corps and PlaNet Finance Japan are providing $4 million in start-up loans and grants to small business owners in Japan's tsunami-ravaged coastal towns.
Japan: Progress report: One year of emergency relief and continued economic recovery March 5, 2012
One year after the worst natural disaster in Japan’s history — the massive earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 — Mercy Corps continues to work with our partner agencies, Peace Winds Japan and PlaNet Finance Japan, to help the Japanese people rebuild.
Afghanistan: Building better lives in the midst of conflict February 29, 2012
As the uncertain tensions and violence in Afghanistan continue, our predominantly Afghan team is working tirelessly to ensure that community needs are met.
Mongolia: Yak slippers point to the future of small business February 22, 2012
Holding a child's slipper — deep chocolate brown with a strong leather sole — I marvel at the fine warmth of the yak felt and realize this is not just a shoe.
Myanmar: A father plants seeds for a new future February 17, 2012
A wide grin spreads across U Myo Zaw’s long, lively face as he eyes his new watering cans and vegetable seeds. The relatively simple supplies will help him cultivate his own small plot of land, a tremendous symbol of personal progress for him.
Kenya: "Yes Youth Can" gears up to train young entrepreneurs February 16, 2012
Charles Kosgei is a highly skilled carpenter from the village of Soba in the Rift Valley, Kenya. Having just learned about Mercy Corps' "Yes Youth Can!" programme, he says he's excited by the opportunity to have two or three youth trainees join him in a project.