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
Kenya: Choosing opportunity over violence
Earlier this summer I spent three weeks in Kenya with Mercy Corps colleagues who are implementing an ambitious program called “Yes Youth Can!” (YYC).
Kenya: Young people shape their economic future
Young people in Kenya face enormous hurdles. Today, the youth unemployment rate is an alarming 65% and growing. Suffering with few job prospects and a slow economy, many young people have been lured into violence fueled by political and tribal conflict.
Afghanistan: Students welcome visit from British government official
The normal school day at our vocational training center in rural Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan was recently shaken up — but students were eager to discuss the changes education has brought to their lives.
South Sudan: Building on hope one year after independence
South Sudan Country Director Mathieu Rouquette met these two little girls in the market in Bentiu, Unity State, when they peeked their heads into a camera shop that recently received a Mercy Corps business grant.
South Sudan: From the field: Local market perseveres after attacks
Mercy Corps staff visit the local market in Bentiu that was damaged in recent aerial attacks, part of the ongoing conflict with Sudan to the north.
South Sudan: Back to work after bombings
Much of our work is about giving people the resources they need to build healthy, safe and productive lives for the longterm. To do so in areas where conflict threatens not just livelihoods, but lives, can be especially challenging.
Afghanistan: Fathers and sons learn a trade together
Multiple generations are learning new job skills like carpentry in Afghanistan's Helmand province, where decades of conflict have limited opportunities to earn an income.
Ethiopia: Women transform small loans into progress and purpose
Like clockwork, every time I visit the Addis Ababa, Ethiopia-based Women in Self Employment (WISE) organization, my very first impressions are of the wonderful hospitality of the Ethiopian people.
Afghanistan: New graduates yield unexpected returns
The latest group of students to graduate from our vocational training program in southern Afghanistan — more than 3,600 of them — show that real success is giving young people hope.
South Sudan: Fighting prompts staff to evacuate border town
All but two Mercy Corps staff members have been evacuated from Bentiu, the beleaguered border town that has been in the news recently as the target of Sudanese air strikes.