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
Afghanistan: Education against all odds: Job skills open up new world
Our INVEST vocational training program gives women in Helmand province an opportunity to go to school and earn an income for the first time in a generation. Meet Shamsiya, who is bravely seizing her brand new opportunities.
West Bank and Gaza: Digital opportunities transcend borders
In Gaza, information technology is one of the only ways to connect to a productive future. See what Alaa and her visionary peers achieved at Gaza's first-ever Startup Weekend.
Haiti: Female entrepreneurs bounce back
Haiti is a land of micro-entrepreneurs. In every town, on every street, shopkeepers, traders and craftsmen are working hard to provide their communities with the essential goods and services of daily life — and in so doing, lift their own families from poverty.
West Bank and Gaza: Online Arabic freelancer network launches in Gaza
After winning third place in the first-ever Startup Weekend in Gaza this past December, AnaLancer has launched an “expert-sourcing platform” that connects freelancers from the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) with business owners worldwide.
Iraq: Empowered youth build stronger society
Salahadin in one of the hardest hit provinces in Iraq. Just north of Baghdad, services here are hard to come by and the security situation is often critical. But it is also the center of a groundswell of civic activism and organization.
Japan: Images: From ruin to renewal
Twelve months after the tsunami that devastated Japan's northeast coast, reminders of the tragedy are everywhere — but so is an incredible resilience and hope to rebuild the future.
Japan: Seaweed harvest brings fresh start to coastal towns
If you have ever eaten a traditional Japanese meal, chances are you’ve had a taste of wakame seaweed. Harvested in early spring, it is most often served in soups and salads.
Japan: Small business owners revitalize their communities
Japan: The cycle continues at restored salmon hatchery
"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
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.