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
Japan: Taking back the sea May 18, 2011
Kesennuma, Japan is a city of the sea. Before the tsunami hit northeastern Japan on March 11, more than 85 percent of its 73,000 citizens were involved in the fishing industry in some way.
Japan: Returning to Touhoku May 13, 2011
Haiti: From walkie-talkies to mobile banking April 30, 2011
Morse Alexis welcomes customers into his small shop with a warm smile and asks how he can help. He discusses prices and availability of his products, which vary from rice and beans to sodas to vegetables. Morse is married, 46 years old, with one son and another child on the way.
Haiti: Insuring Haiti's small businesses April 19, 2011
Late last month, a number of businessmen, journalists and community organizers gathered in Port-au-Prince to witness the launch of the Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organization (MiCRO).
Niger: Four "H"s united for one goal April 11, 2011
The name "4H" is really a pure coincidence: these four colleagues from the same Mercy Corps project in Niger are called Hadiza, Halima, Hadiara and Hadiza.
Japan: Warmth and wreckage in Kesennuma April 9, 2011
Wednesday morning I went with my colleagues Yohei and Ryu from Peace Winds Japan to help deliver kerosene heaters. The northeast of Japan where the tsunami struck is still cold even in April, with temperatures around freezing at night and sometimes during the day as well.
Haiti: Overcoming challenges in the field: Haiti's mobile money program March 31, 2011
One of the more inspired advantages that Mercy Corps hopes to bring to vulnerable communities via mobile money is easy access to financial services. A good number of places with high cell phone penetration are many miles from the nearest banking institution.
Kosovo: Enough living in the camps March 30, 2011
“Life in the camps was terrible for my family and all who lived there” said Rifat Sulejmani, a former refugee in Mitrovica, Kosovo.
Timor-Leste: Farmers in Timor-Leste store up for a better future March 22, 2011
The road to Ainaro District from Dili —the capital city of Timor-Leste, one of the world's newest countries — has never been as bad as it is now, at least in my experience.
Pakistan: Repairing roads and restoring lives in Pakistan March 9, 2011
Floods that struck Pakistan over the summer of 2010 deluged at least one-fifth of the whole country, destroying entire villages. Mercy Corps is organizing more than 100 projects that will help residents repair roads, dig canals and rebuild other infrastructure.