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
Myanmar: Cookstoves to the rescue
Myat Soe and his family lost their house, fishing business and small grocery in the 2008 cyclone that devastated Myanmar's Ayeyarwady Delta. Afterwards, they moved in with his father and struggled just to make ends meet.
Haiti: Insuring women-owned businesses against natural disaster
I have been in Haiti for a mere 36 hours and have already waded through a river, trekked through rice fields, climbed mountains and stumbled upon a buzzing open market in a remote village in the Central Plateau.
Myanmar: Changing times
Change was a theme that kept cropping up during my visit to Myanmar earlier this year. The changes the country has seen since my grandfather lived there in the 1940s. The changes Cyclone Nargis brought in 2008 to the thousands of families it affected.
Mongolia: Khureltogoo, carpenter in rural Mongolia
Since 2005, Khureltogoo has secured two loans totaling $16,000 thanks to guarantees provided by Mercy Corps. He used them to renovate a workshop, add a drying facility and purchase high-powered, modern equipment.
Japan: Restarting small businesses
West Bank and Gaza: Getting Google to Gaza
Through an innovative Mercy Corps’ partnership with Google and the Source of Hope Foundation, young Palestinian web developers receive firsthand training and mentoring from engineers and business people from cutting-edge technology companies – as well as potential seed capital funding.
Iraq: 'I'm an employee now'
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
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
“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
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.