2020 Annual Impact Report: Taking on what’s next

For so many people in communities around the world, 2020 was catastrophic. The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and conflict have combined to create the worst humanitarian crisis in a generation. At this time last year, 1 in every 45 people globally were in need of humanitarian assistance. That number has increased, and today, 1 in every 33 people need aid to survive.

Yet even in these challenges, there is hope. We have seen how families, neighbors and communities have supported each other in so many different ways. Mercy Corps’ global team of humanitarians, working in more than 40 countries around the world, were part of this community of hope last year — delivering lifesaving and life-changing assistance to nearly 37 million people.

This Annual Impact Report tells some of the stories behind that number. Our global teams worked to keep students learning despite lockdowns, provided critical assistance for small businesses in Beirut recovering from the massive explosion, and connected thousands of farmers in Indonesia to sustainable techniques and technology to increase harvests. We also used 3D-printing to produce accessibility equipment for young refugees in Jordan and helped open new job opportunities for thousands of young people in Kenya.

Thank you for helping us create a brighter future with families and communities across the globe. I hope you are as proud as I am of what we have accomplished together in 2020 and that you continue to join us in taking on what’s next.

Tjada D’Oyen McKenna
Chief Executive Officer

Meet our leadership, board and members of our team ▸
Learn more about our mission and who we are ▸
Download the 2020 financial statement summary ▸
Download a printable version of this report ▸

COVID-19 intervention

Helping communities stay healthy through the pandemic

  • 15.1m

    people reached with COVID-19 intervention programs
  • 450k

    students in Iraq helped to continue their education
  • 433k

    people with new access to handwashing stations in Timor-Leste
In the weeks after the pandemic was declared, our teams in Somalia led education sessions for community health workers to help protect the health of people who had been forced from their homes.
In Indonesia, Mercy Corps installed handwashing stations, distributed masks and spearheaded an information campaign on how to prevent the spread of the virus.
Reaching over 2,300 people without enough to eat, Mercy Corps Niger adapted cash distribution sites to safely provide families with assistance needed to meet their most immediate needs during the pandemic.
In Somalia, decades of conflict combined with the pandemic have disrupted education — especially for girls. With support from Mercy Corps, children are now putting health guidelines into practice and class is in session.
In Puerto Rico, the economic fallout of the pandemic has hit both farmers and families. To help, we partnered with a local farmers’ group to safely distribute food to community members without enough to eat.
In encampments where families have found safety after fleeing their homes, our team in Northwest Syria led information sessions on the virus and how to stay healthy.
To help understaffed and undersupplied medical facilities in Tunisia, our teams partnered with local organizations to use 3D printers to create personal protection equipment. © Ashref Ben Hammadi
The pandemic cut off income for many in Guatemala’s rural villages. In response, we provided hungry families with food and the information, masks and hygiene supplies needed to stay healthy and keep their farms running.


When COVID-19 spread across the globe, the challenges vulnerable communities were already facing intensified. In response, our teams started taking every precaution to keep themselves and the people they serve safe and healthy. We quickly adapted our operations to the reality of the pandemic, distributing the supplies and information needed for communities to prevent transmission of the virus and the assistance needed for families and small businesses to stay on their feet.

As we continue this work, it’s critical we ensure the equitable delivery of vaccines to vulnerable communities ▸

Emergency response

“More than ever, our teams have to be nimble, responsive and deploy effective approaches that not only support people in fragile states for today’s urgent life-saving needs, but also build communities’ resilience to crises.”

– Anissa Toscano, Vice President, Humanitarian Leadership and Response

Climate adaptation

Planting the seeds for a stronger world

  • 4.9m

    people better equipped to adapt to climate change
  • 98k

    farmers in Indonesia introduced to new practices and tech
  • 138k

    people more prepared for extreme weather events in Kenya
Increasingly unpredictable weather threatens the livelihoods of many farmers in Indonesia. That’s why we provide farmers’ groups with tools and information to boost their incomes and productivity.
Roni, a farmer in Indonesia, grappled with the rise in extreme weather and found help from his local farmers’ group. Our teams work with groups like Roni’s, sharing new practices and technology, like this soil and weather monitoring station, to increase harvests.
Water in Jordan is exceedingly limited, which is why we work to develop tools and incentives to save water. Here, Mercy Corps staff demonstrates how an upgraded irrigation system helps to improve crops and conserve water. Photo courtesy Cathy Cheney.
When unpredictable extreme weather hits vulnerable communities, we respond and build resilience for the future. After heavy rains caused major flooding in Nepal, we distributed shelter materials and basic supplies to families.
Climate change has increased droughts in Kenya, so our teams provided training and support to rangeland committees to help them manage water. Herders can now protect their livelihoods by keeping their livestock healthy.
As conflict continues in Nigeria, climate change has made farming even more unreliable. By providing farming supplies and training, Mercy Corps is helping Maryam build financial stability and provide for her family.


This year Mercy Corps’ climate resilience work tackled the pressing challenges of climate change — disappearing livelihoods, rising food insecurity, increasing disaster and escalating violence — by empowering communities to adapt, innovate and thrive, even during a global pandemic.


“We lean forward on technology in service of trying to be more efficient and effective in serving needs.”

– Myriam Khoury, VP of Innovation for Mercy Corps

Youth opportunity

Building new possibilities and brighter futures for young people

  • 2,500+

    girls in Nigeria received vocational training
  • $2.3m

    in income generated for young people in Jordan
  • 5,190

    new work opportunities for youth in East Africa
Young people in Jordan, like Lina, struggle to find work amidst logistical barriers and the lack of job opportunities. With the help of a grant from Mercy Corps, the digital training company where she works has grown to a team of about 25 employees.
Youth unemployment in Jordan is a staggering 39 percent. Laith was able to secure full-time work and earn an income to help support his mother after taking part in Mercy Corps’ solar panel installation training.
Training is one of the best ways for young people to overcome Jordan’s difficult employment landscape. With Mercy Corps’ support, this textile company has developed a paid apprenticeship program. Photo courtesy Cathy Cheney.
In Nigeria, violence has forced many young people from their homes. To rebuild her life, Fanna participated in Mercy Corps’ vocational training for tailoring. With her new skills, she’s better able to support her family.
Limited opportunities and inequality drive unemployment for young people in Nigeria. By providing long-term support with training, our teams are helping people like Muhammed, who’s learned car maintenance, to build reliable livelihood.
Rael can’t continue on to a university until she’s paid her school fees. With the business training she received from a Mercy Corps group aimed at building opportunities for young women in Kenya, she’s opened a shop to pay off her debt and unlock her future.
In northern Kenya, many girls don’t have access to the education and opportunities to build their own livelihoods. That’s why Mercy Corps is providing groups of girls with the agricultural training and financial support they need in order to flourish.


When connected to the right opportunities, young people have the power to be a positive force for change. We help prepare young people for those opportunities — and the challenges they’ll meet along the way. This year, we focused on job creation and support in order to counteract the devastating economic effects of COVID-19 and to spark lasting change.

You can be part of what’s next

With support from people like you, our teams continue to create transformative change in the lives of people around the world. It’s when we work together that a brighter future is possible.