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
Uganda: From our photo library: An 'Easter egg' from Uganda
Staff members send me photos they've come across pretty regularly. The special ones I call "Easter eggs" because they're such a pleasant discovery.
Haiti: Bringing help to Haiti’s rural economy
An estimated 90,000 earthquake survivors fled Port-au-Prince to Haiti’s Central Plateau. Even before the quake, this was one of the country’s poorest regions. Its agricultural economy has suffered from environmental degradation and poor infrastructure.
Tajikistan: Sewing for success
Last week I visited Mercy Corps’ first youth employment project to get started under the Tajikistan Stability Enhancement Program, the program I’m assisting with this summer. In the sweltering heat, we entered a small room with five girls working away on sewing machines.
Indonesia: Video: Our Work in Jakarta
There are so many ways to know whether a project could really have an impact in communities that we work in. The most frequent method use is, of course, conduct a base line assessment (output: numbers) and then conduct the end line assessment (output: numbers) and compare the two of them.
Mongolia: D-z-u-d spells "disaster" for Mongolian herders
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)
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
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
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
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
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.