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: Solar energy reaches northern Uganda February 20, 2012
In an effort to provide sustainable energy and invigorate small business, Mercy Corps teams worked over the last year to connect large-scale solar power companies in Uganda's capital of Kampala with merchants in rural northern Pader to offer affordable solar power equipment to residents.
Myanmar: A father plants seeds for a new future February 17, 2012
A wide grin spreads across U Myo Zaw’s long, lively face as he eyes his new watering cans and vegetable seeds. The relatively simple supplies will help him cultivate his own small plot of land, a tremendous symbol of personal progress for him.
Kenya: "Yes Youth Can" gears up to train young entrepreneurs February 16, 2012
Charles Kosgei is a highly skilled carpenter from the village of Soba in the Rift Valley, Kenya. Having just learned about Mercy Corps' "Yes Youth Can!" program, he says he's excited by the opportunity to have two or three youth trainees join him in a project.
Afghanistan: Young man learns sewing trade February 15, 2012
Our INVEST program helps men — and now women, too — learn job skills that put them on a path toward economic independence.
Iraq: A safer walk to school in Basra February 13, 2012
Flying into Basra in southern Iraq for the first time, all I could see was desert and the occasional smoke plumes from the oil fields.
Haiti: Protecting small business owners in Haiti February 9, 2012
After the devastation of the earthquake two years ago, Mercy Corps developed MiCRO (Microinsurance Catastrophic Risk Organization) to protect small business owners, especially women, from natural disasters.
Japan: Small business helps the youngest survivors February 8, 2012
Today my heart sang. After days of seeing destruction and rubble, I got to visit the tiniest tsunami survivors at a day care in Kesennuma, Japan. After it was destroyed in the tsunami, the day care was recently restarted with Mercy Corps' help .
Japan: Signs of progress in tsunami recovery February 7, 2012
I’ve spent about half of my time in Japan since the March 11 tsunami, working with our partners on the various relief and recovery projects. And each visit — whether I’m there a few months or just a couple weeks — presents a new face on the recovery.
West Bank and Gaza: Telling young tech entrepreneurs to go fish February 4, 2012
Last week, Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood was abuzz with a rare combination of techies, social investors, Arab world watchers and humanitarians.
Japan: Women back to work as seaweed harvesting begins February 3, 2012
Yesterday I met Hiroko Mirura. In her early 60s, Ms. Mirura is a former scallop merchant, proud wife of a fisherman, and a strong female leader in the town of Minamisanriku.