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: From walkie-talkies to mobile banking
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
Afghanistan: New book honors Afghan women entrepreneurs
International Women’s Day reminds me of the many courageous women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting during my last years at Mercy Corps. In all corners of the globe, women work tirelessly — sometimes against incredible odds — to build better, more prosperous and peaceful lives for their families.
Haiti: Learning and teaching mobile money technology in Saut D’Eau, Haiti
It was the day of the first mobile money disbursement in Saut D’Eau, a small town in Haiti known for its waterfalls and voodoo folklore. Thanks to a grant from USAID/HIFIVE, 100 beneficiaries had been selected to receive their unconditional cash grants via cellular phone.