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
Iraq: 'I'm an employee now' October 18, 2011
Hamid Jassim is the 52-year-old father of a big family – he has two sons and three daughters, and is known in his community as Abo Mustafa. I met him while he was working as a laborer on a project for the rehabilitation of Basma Kindergarten, in the Jalawla neighborhood outside of Khanaqin.
West Bank and Gaza: Empowering the techno-geeks of Palestine October 10, 2011
This summer, I attended an event in the Gaza Strip with 100 computer-science students and budding entrepreneurs about the latest open-source software and development tools, showcased by engineers visiting from Google.
Indonesia: Old wounds reopened in Ambon September 23, 2011
“Ambon manise,” (am-bone mah-nee-say) muttered the bewildered project coordinator of Mercy Corps’s Spice Up the Deal Project, as we stood watching midnight fires erupt in Ambon City below us.
Ethiopia: A sense of pride September 14, 2011
We were recently asked to create a large-scale permanent photography collection for the gallery attached to our Portland Action Center. This image by Thatcher Cook was one of the selections.
Japan: Six months after the quake September 11, 2011
Six months after the massive 9.0 earthquake struck eastern Japan on March 11, Mercy Corps continues to work with our partner agency, Peace Winds Japan, to bring relief and recovery to people in need.
Kenya: Without water in West Wajir September 9, 2011
"Look. Over there. See them?"
Haiti: Tatie’s Home, a bakery in Port-au-Prince August 24, 2011
Tatie grew up in a family of seven children, and wanted to own her own business since she was a little girl. While just a young student, Tatie's mother passed away and Tatie began raising her younger brother and god-daughter.
Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia: Horn of Africa disaster didn't happen overnight August 23, 2011
Photos and stories from the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa — a region that includes Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia — have brought to light suffering on an almost unimaginable scale.
Zimbabwe: Vocational training helps youths find jobs in Zimbabwe August 18, 2011
Twenty-year-old Nyasha Zulu and 21-year-old Simbarashe Mudara have lived most of their lives in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza, 30 kilometers from Zimbabwe's capital, Harare.
Haiti: Mobile wallets help Haitians rebuild August 3, 2011
Families needed food. Small vendors and local economies needed cash. And it turns out the solution to this Catch-22 was right in the hands — or the pockets — of most Haitians.