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: 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.
Afghanistan: Building better lives in the midst of conflict
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
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
Myanmar: A father plants seeds for a new future
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
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
Our INVEST program helps men — and now women, too — learn job skills that put them on a path toward economic independence.