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: 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.
Iraq: A safer walk to school in Basra
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
Japan: Small business helps the youngest survivors
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
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.