Annual Report 2017

Annual Report 2017 Cover Image

Together, we rise

Every day, people around the world step up to daunting challenges. Mothers walk miles to find food for their children. Refugees flee conflict, determined to create new lives in unfamiliar places. Families work together to rebuild after disaster.

With your support, Mercy Corps is there to help people rise above crisis and emerge stronger.

In more than 40 countries, we connect people with opportunities to break through and lead the way forward for their families and their communities.

Because of you, we’re helping families around the world fight hunger, escape violent conflict, recover from disaster and build brighter futures. Below, meet a few of the people who see new possibilities for a better life because of your generosity.

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In the face of famine, we’re helping people push beyond survival to a brighter future.

Empowering communities to triumph over crisis. Last year, we helped 1.2 million farmers increase their production, feed their families and boost their incomes.
A COMMUNITY CELEBRATES at a parade in Panyijiar County, South Sudan. Mercy Corps provided hot meals to more than 2,000 children in the county’s schools last year, helping them survive through dire food shortages and encouraging more children to stay in school during the crisis.


Overcoming a crisis demands big thinking and bold action. We move quickly to meet urgent needs, providing emergency food, supplies and cash. And we also look deeper, at the root causes of each crisis and the possibilities for long-term change.

In the bleakest scenarios — famine, disaster, violent conflict — we look for ways to make the biggest impact.

We train farmers to grow hardier crops. We help families who have lost their homes get the resources they need to survive today and rebuild stronger. We help children stay in school, where they can get nutritious meals and prepare for a brighter future.

Breaking free of famine's grip

The soil is very fertile here. The majority of the population is young and full of energy. So let's not give up. South Sudan is full of possibilities.
THULNAATH'S HOME was burned in an attack on her village in 2015. Emergency cash from Mercy Corps helps her buy food for her children and send them back to school.


Thulnaath, a mother in South Sudan, spends hours each day searching for food for her two young children. But food is so scarce that most days they only eat once.

She’s one of more than 20 million people in South Sudan, Somalia, northeastern Nigeria, and Yemen who are at immediate risk of famine as a result of ongoing conflict, economic instability and drought.

In South Sudan, Mercy Corps has responded with support for the most vulnerable families in some of the least accessible areas of the country.

In 2017, we provided kits to help families fish and grow their own produce and delivered hot meals to more than 10,000 schoolchildren across South Sudan. We also provided emergency cash to help families like Thulnaath’s buy what they need to get through the crisis.

We’re working with local governments to influence policies that help create more equitable societies.

Sparking and spreading positive change. Last year, our response to the global refugee crisis made a difference for more than 3.8 million refugees and host community members in 24 countries.
MARWA AND HER FAMILY fled violence in their hometown and now live in a displacement camp in Syria. Mercy Corps provides families in the camp with basic supplies, including mattresses, blankets, and cooking sets.


Violent conflict and political unrest can change the course of a family’s life in an instant. Forced to flee their homes, refugees face a new reality without the support systems and comforts many people take for granted.

We’re working within refugee camps and host communities to help families live safe, productive lives with the dignity they deserve.

We help families access safe shelter, education and the means to make a living today. And we advocate for long-term solutions and policies that create opportunities for a better tomorrow.

A seat for every student

"It's the best place for a child to be - in school, to feel equal with the other children and not less than them, and to have opportunities in the future." -Haleema, a Syrian refugee and teacher at the Zaatari refugee camp
WITH A PROPERLY FITTING DESK, Malak can participate in class along with her peers. Her reading, writing and math skills have improved, and she now aspires to be a teacher herself.


After fleeing conflict in Syria, 15-year-old Malak arrived at Zaatari, a sprawling camp in the Jordanian desert that’s home to 80,000 other refugees. For the next two years, she couldn’t attend school.

Malak has a combination of health issues including dwarfism and severe scoliosis. The camp’s school didn’t have the facilities she needed, so for two years, she wasn’t able to attend school.

Mercy Corps’ inclusive education program changed that.

We helped enroll Malak and provided her with a custom-fitted desk. We also paired her with a teacher, Haleema, for physical therapy and one-on-one support.

At Mercy Corps’ equipment repair shop in Zaatari, Syrian refugees in our cash-for-work program customize wheelchairs, desks, and other equipment for students with disabilities.

Mercy Corps is also working with Jordan’s Ministry of Education and Higher Council for Persons with Disabilities to guarantee equal access to students with disabilities by establishing a national policy for inclusive education.

We connect talented, hardworking people around the world to innovations that help them leap forward using their own skills.

Transforming lives with new tools and training. Today, Mercy Corps programs are modernizing and improving agriculture across 27 countries.
LUCY, AN ENTREPRENEUR IN KENYA, participated in a Mercy Corps youth program and now owns several small businesses and employs seven people.


No two challenges or communities are alike. To set real change in motion, we spend time listening and learning to get to the heart of a problem.

Then, we act.

We collaborate with local leaders, private organizations and local governments. We forge long-term partnerships and invest in new technology. We equip families, farmers, and entrepreneurs with resources to solve the real-world problems they face and unlock new opportunities for success.

Forecast for a brighter future

"Before, it was very difficult and not easy for us to get information. We would look at the sky and make predictions ourselves." -Baigalmaa, a nomadic herder in Mongolia
ALTAN NARAN AND HER HUSBAND lost more than half their livestock in the winter of 2009. Now they receive text-message forecasts that help them protect their livestock and livelihoods.


Rural Mongolia is one of the most remote and challenging places on earth to live, with tough terrain and extreme climate swings. Nomadic herders rely on the land to graze their animals, leaving home for weeks at a time, unsure how or when the weather might take a turn for the worse.

During the weather phenomenon known as the “dzud,” temperatures can quickly plunge to 50 degrees below zero. A single dzud can wipe out an entire herd and, with it, the herder’s primary source of food and income.

Mercy Corps is pioneering a way to prevent such devastating losses. Because 95 percent of rural Mongolians use mobile phones, we built an on-demand system that alerts herders to weather conditions up to six days in advance.

A simple text message gives them time to round up their animals and head to safety before a storm hits.

We’re now expanding the program to more provinces, and doctors, farmers, and government officials are also using the system.

Thank you

Dear friend of Mercy Corps,

Nothing compares to the confluence of global crises we are witnessing. From Syria to South Sudan, Afghanistan to Nigeria, we see tens of millions of people forced to embark on a long, grueling search for safety. And, for the first time in decades, we see a rise in global hunger — last night, 815 million men, women, and children went to bed hungry. In today’s world, it’s easy to see the impossible.

At Mercy Corps, we pride ourselves on seeing beyond tough challenges and discovering what is possible. And thanks to your partnership and support, we have helped people rise above — and move beyond — crisis. Together, we provided food to millions of people in the hardest-to-reach parts of the world — and helped farmers produce more crops and earn more income. Together, we connected thousands of families to emergency cash — and infused $46 million into local economies.

Because of you, all of this — and much more — is possible. Thank you for your commitment to building a better world.


Neal Keny-Guyer Signature

Neal Keny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer