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
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.
Central African Republic: Baking a better future in Africa
In the impoverished Central African Republic, we're finding ways to help women like Edwige feed her family by expanding their economic opportunities.
Haiti: Helping ensure that small Haitian businesses can start over
One of Mercy Corps’ first interventions in Haiti was engaging in a partnership with Fonkoze, a leading Haitian microfinance institution that works with women.
Afghanistan: Almonds for Afghanistan: A farmer tries his hand at a high-value crop
I picked my way gingerly though the rows of young, green wheat as our host, farmer Ahmed Shah*, the Mercy Corps project manager and a few agriculture experts strode ahead across the field.