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
Kyrgyzstan: You're going where?
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
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
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.
Colombia: Graduation day in Mocoa
At the end of our day in Putumayo's capital, we stopped by a graduation celebration of sorts. More than 30 people displaced by the armed conflict were marking the end of an 80-hour course in gastronomy with food, music and a dip in the river.
Indonesia: Padang: seven months after the earthquake
“Now I know what to do when an earthquake strikes. I will hide under a table,” said Nisa, a third grader at Coroco elementary school, Pesisir Selatan district, West Sumatra after joining a Mercy Corps earthquake and tsunami awareness session.
West Bank and Gaza: Cash-for-work projects in Gaza – part two
In the late afternoon sunshine, we leave a dusty alley in one of the poorer neighbourhoods of Gaza City, and are welcomed into a small sewing workshop by Ali, the coordinator for this cash-for-work team.
Haiti: A meeting of leaders for recovery in Haiti
Last week Mercy Corps hosted the Haitian Minister of Tourism, Patrick Delatour, in Washington, DC to spur thinking about how the government, private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can work together to promote recovery in Haiti.
West Bank and Gaza: Cash-for-work projects in Gaza – part one
On Sha’af street in Gaza City, twenty-five men work in unison, clearing the rubbish and sweeping away the dust that clogs the side of the road. They're all distinguished by the white caps they wear.
Colombia: Displaced but not disempowered
DR Congo: In Congo, saving trees and lives
Last November and December I was working with Mercy Corps in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I had the chance to make a photo essay on our work that the BBC is featuring on their website.