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
Indonesia: Kid-friendly food carts take on child malnutrition
The slums of Jakarta, Indonesia are home to some of the poorest families in Asia. The city — one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, with more than 28 million people — has dozens of such places, where thousands of people live cramped in close quarters.
Iraq: Economic development on a personal level
In a part of the country often forgotten by the central government, southern Iraq has had its share of challenges following years of conflict that began with the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s.
Georgia: Cash cows: On the ground with Georgia's dairy industry
My cab driver was yelling something that sounded like "khows, khows!" I hadn't the faintest idea what he was talking about until I saw the spotted figures in the distance and realized he was saying "cows."
Guatemala: Rural micropharmacies offer medicine for all
Sustainable Community Health Stores is a new way of addressing the rural healthcare problem. It helps local families start small businesses while providing much-needed medicines in underserved communities.
Japan: The journey from donation to voucher to survivor in Japan
Japan: Re-opening Ofunato's fish market
The tsunami poured through the Ofunato fish market, leaving the open-plan structure mostly intact but washing away almost everything within it.
Japan: What it looks like coming back to Japan
Every day that I was away from Japan — while I was eating dinner, watching TV, dancing, laughing with friends, or sleeping on the other side of the world — a small army of police, army, municipal employees and volunteers was at work in tsunami-affected areas.
Indonesia: Pushing back the sea
Indonesia: A video blog from Indonesia's remote Mentawai Islands
South Sudan: South Sudan - The birth of a nation
Mercy Corps began programs in South Sudan in 2004 to help devastated communities rebuild after decades of civil war. As South Sudan declares its independence from the north, Mercy Corps staff looks at the progress the people have made in the past six years.