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
United States: Building By Dismantling
Rick Denhart, Mercy Corps' New Orleans-based Director of Gulf Coast Hurricane Recovery, has been in construction - and deconstruction - all his life. He started his vocation as a child apprenticing with his father - a builder - who taught him how to take things apart and redo them.
South Sudan: Rebuilding, Brick by Brick
Renk, Southern Sudan — While walking along the emaciated Nile River at the height of last year's dry season, unemployed banker Diew Ajak encountered a curiously constructed brick.
Sri Lanka: Recovery Amid Conflict
Sri Lanka's Ampara District hasn't had time to recover from the December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami: even as rebulding began, violent conflict engulfed the area, plunging already-shaken families into further turmoil and uncertainty.
Guatemala: Defusing Crisis
Olivia's calm smile says a lot about her life today. However, just a few months ago, the situation was a lot different.
North Korea: Seeing for the first time
For many years, I was privileged to hear firsthand stories of the people of North Korea from my husband, Mercy Corps co-founder Ells Culver.
Indonesia: Cash-for-Work: Beginning the Recovery
In the aftermath of natural disasters and violent conflict, towns often lay ruined and local economies are in shambles. Although grieving their losses, families are also eager to move beyond tragedy and begin rebuilding their homes and lives.
Indonesia: Rebuilding Peace by Piece
Hunut village, Maluku, Indonesia - Tjak Tohata was getting used to staying in a barn. For almost eight years, the 62-year-old man, his wife and their five children lived in a small shelter that was formerly to house cows.
Sri Lanka: Community groups helping neighbors
Batticaloa District, Sri Lanka - Community groups formed to guide village redevelopment in the wake of the tsunami are now playing a central role in Mercy Corps' distributions of cookware, tarps and other relief items to families fleeing their homes in the face of the country's escalating
India: A New Harvest
Darjeeling tea is one of the world's most enjoyable beverages — but it doesn't come easily to your cup. Tea-growing families in the villages that dot Darjeeling's hillsides work hard just to make ends meet.
Colombia: Gloria and Don Guillermo: A Way Forward
Bogotá, Colombia — When the violence swept through the village of Libano in 2001, Gloria Arieza was in no shape to leave. She had a one-year-old child and a second in her belly. Still, she and her partner, Don Guillermo, had no choice but to flee.