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
Mongolia: D-z-u-d spells "disaster" for Mongolian herders June 10, 2010
Ever heard of a "dzud"? It's pronounced zuhd, and it's an extraordinarily harsh Mongolian winter -- the kind where temperatures plummet, animals freeze to death, and you can enter your house only through the roof because that's how high the snow is.
Kyrgyzstan: Πepexóд (Transitions) June 3, 2010
We were flying from London to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan via Almatay, Kazakhstan. I was in a semi-conscious airplane daze when my Kazakh neighbor tapped me on the shoulder, pointing out the right side of the plane.
Haiti: Encouraging small business in Haiti June 1, 2010
Although I've sort of always known that one day I would come to work in Haiti, January 12 made me realize that the time was now.
Indonesia: Video: MBAs in action May 28, 2010
It’s midnight in the slums of Jakarta. Four intrepid Ivy League co-eds, armed only with a video camera, tiptoe down a dark alley towards a door cracked open just enough to reveal the orange glow of a light within…
Haiti: In the lakou, under a mango tree May 27, 2010
Outside of the town of Mirebalais, in Haiti's Central Plateau, we visit the small community of Sarazin. We are here to do a community mobilization — the first step in engaging a community in a cash-for-work project.
Guatemala: Travels in Alta Verapaz May 24, 2010
It's raining again in Coban, Guatemala. Driving out to visit some communities, we come upon the apparently eternal landslide bleeding from the rain the night before, and washing out the road with its rust-red mud and boulders.
United States: New York Action Center: Shop for Change Fair Trade Trunk Show May 19, 2010
Like most New Yorkers, I LOVE to shop. Never mind baseball — snagging a bag of fantastic finds and super bargains is indeed our city’s favorite pastime.
Kyrgyzstan: You're going where? May 19, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, I began informing my friends and family that I will be spending this summer interning out of Mercy Corps’ Kyrgyzstan office. Apart from the "Borat" jokes (wrong country, folks), general responses have included:
Indonesia: Growing with Kedai Balitaku May 11, 2010
I believe that helping people to sell nutritious foods for children is the best strategy to ensure sustainability.
Indonesia: From pushing a pedicab to steering a healthy food cart May 4, 2010
His name is Gunanto, or Gun for short. He's 32 years old with two school-aged children. His wife works as a laundry laborer in their Jakarta neighborhood and earns 150,000 Indonesian rupiah — about US$15 — per month.