A Pioneer in Social Innovations

March 25, 2009

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Jason Sangster for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Photo: Jason Sangster for Mercy Corps

We believe that solving social problems in the developing world requires a blending of sustainable, entrepreneurial strategies with the deep knowledge of culture and context that comes from working alongside local communities each day.

Mercy Corps operates in perhaps the toughest and most insecure combination of failed and fragile states of any international development organization. Despite our familiarity with the inherent risks of operating and investing in these places, we see in them a great opportunity for innovation. Our goal is to develop solutions that have the potential to reach vast numbers of people on an ongoing basis, without continued charitable assistance. We seek innovative solutions that harness the power of market forces, balanced by strong civil and public sectors, and spread by the ingenuity of local communities.

To identify and scale social innovations, Mercy Corps relies on an internal team of analysts who scan for cutting-edge ideas that can be adapted for the countries where we work. Our technical specialists bring expertise across the critical sectors. Our regional and country leadership contribute deep knowledge of the communities we serve. And local partners provide both inspiration and the reality-check — sharing those innovations sprouted from local invention and pointing us to the ideas that have the best chance for success.

Social innovation is not only an exciting adventure — it is critical to confronting the challenges we face.