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
Japan: Small business owners revitalize their communities March 9, 2012
Thanks to generous donations from NVIDIA and World Vision, Mercy Corps and PlaNet Finance Japan are providing $4 million in start-up loans and grants to small business owners in Japan's tsunami-ravaged coastal towns.
Japan: The cycle continues at restored salmon hatchery March 9, 2012
"Today, we have equipment and young salmon in the tanks again. It's a small step towards the overall revival of this town," said Hiroto Miura, the hatchery's manager.
Japan: Progress report: One year of emergency relief and continued economic recovery March 5, 2012
One year after the worst natural disaster in Japan’s history — the massive earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 — Mercy Corps continues to work with our partner agencies, Peace Winds Japan and PlaNet Finance Japan, to help the Japanese people rebuild.
Afghanistan: Building better lives in the midst of conflict February 29, 2012
As the uncertain tensions and violence in Afghanistan continue, our predominantly Afghan team is working tirelessly to ensure that community needs are met.
Mongolia: Yak slippers point to the future of small business February 22, 2012
Holding a child's slipper — deep chocolate brown with a strong leather sole — I marvel at the fine warmth of the yak felt and realize this is not just a shoe.
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.