5 ways you made the world a better place in 2018

Girl in Yemen next to animal carrying water

As the years go on and the world becomes a bigger and bigger place, it can be hard to feel like you're making a difference. Although 2018 brought challenges like natural disasters, conflict and disease, it also brought opportunities for progress. The opportunity for you to change more lives than ever before. The opportunity to make the world a better place. You changed the world this year. Over the course of 365 days, you made an impact that brought change and empowerment to people all over the world.

You helped transform the lives of 28 million people in 40 countries this year.

Because of you, 28 million more people are leading better lives. You helped families get clean water when there was none left. You helped parents feed their children. You helped small businesses get off the ground. You helped farmers grow more crops. And that's just the beginning.

You made the world a better place, and that's something to celebrate as we ring in the new year.

1. You helped deliver food to families on the brink of starvation.

    Girl in niger holding a large green bowl and yellow spoon
    Niger has some of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world. Mercy Corps helps families like Mahazatou's by providing seeds for planting, goats for milk and training in nutrition and hygiene. PHOTO: Ezra Millstein/Mercy Corps

    This year, all around the world, thousands of people and families faced the fight of their lives. Despite there being enough food in the world to feed every person on Earth multiple times over, millions of people went to bed hungry night after night.

    That's where you came in. With your help, we were able to reach 1.4 million people in some of the world's most challenging places and provide them with the food assistance they urgently needed.

    That's at least 1.4 million lives that you changed and in many cases, saved. With your help, more than 500,000 people in South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, and Somalia received lifesaving food.

    In Ethiopia, we rushed food to the 35,381 children under 5 and pregnant and lactating women who urgently needed it.

    It's because of your support that more children can play again and more mothers can raise healthy families.

    Together, we're helping people live longer. We are helping parents get the food they need to nourish their children's growing bodies and minds. Every day we are working around the clock to help people create stronger, more resilient communities around the world.

    2. You gave farmers the tools they need to succeed.

      Woman with baby in drc
      In DR Congo, Simire attends a Mercy Corps supported farming school where she learns how to grow better crops and provide for her family. PHOTO: Elizabeth Dalziel for Mercy Corps

      Agriculture is the backbone of the world's food industry and economies all around the world. Our world's farmers play an important role in all of their communities, as they rely on the land to support themselves, their families and the people around them.

      Over the course of this year, you helped 1.1 million farmers get the resources they need to take their businesses to the next level, increase their production, feed their families and most importantly, to thrive.

      We reached 100,800 host communities and displaced people in Sudan and gave them vegetable seeds and agricultural hand tools like rakes and planting and hoes. Thanks to your support, they're now able to produce their own food and meet their immediate food needs.

      Your support helped our innovative, award-winning mobile platform, DigiFarm, reach 500,000 Kenyan farmers and provide instant advice on all things farming including livestock farming, planting and financial assistance — through this program, they can also access micro-loans and discounted seeds and fertilizer.

      As a result, you didn't only just make a difference in the lives of 1.1 million farmers, you also made a difference for the people and communities they serve. Your support of these farmers increased access to plentiful, sustainable food that nourished entire communities.

      3. You helped build a better future for women and girls across the world.

        Woman holding a young girl in nepal
        In Nepal, you helped women like Sajan get trainings, loans and other life skills that help them succeed and provide more opportunities for the next generation of women. PHOTO: Ezra Millstein/Mercy Corps

        In too many countries around the world, women and girls don't have access to the same freedoms, rights and privileges as their male peers. Things like jobs, access to information and control of household finances are often out of reach and in the hands of the men of the family or community.

        As a member of the Mercy Corps community, you helped us reach almost 7 million women and provide them with tools they need so they can lift up themselves and the people around them. Your support helps entire communities thrive, because when everyone has the resources they need to succeed, anything is possible.

        Thanks to you, we helped increase women's participation in policymaking in Guatemala as they work to reduce incidents of violence against women.

        In Nepal, you helped us reach 1,153 people in 13 different communities with trainings on inclusive household decision-making, disaster preparedness, gender equity and more. Now, more households are prepared for disasters and more women are empowered to have a stronger voice in their homes. Your passion for a better world also reached Mali, where 10,000 women and girls now have the problem-solving, leadership and entrepreneurship skills to forge the path for a stronger future.

        4. You blazed a trail to a brighter, better future for the world's youth.

          Woman in jordan holding the hand of a boy seated at the top of a slide
          In Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp, you help Syrian refugee children and youth get the healthy play and educational support they need while they wait for a chance to return home. PHOTO: Ezra Millstein/Mercy Corps

          Today's young people are tomorrow's leaders. Your support allowed us to reach 5 million young people around the world and help them with the unique challenges they face as they grow up amidst conflict, crisis or poverty.

          We helped provide healthy, creative outlets like drama, sports and art to 209,000 young people across the world, giving them positive ways to relieve stress as they grow up facing conflict and adversity.

          Education is not only the key to a better future, it's a human right. This year, we were able to connect 237,000 young people with education tools, constructed or rehabilitated 320 schools and trained 4,500 local teachers all over the world. Over the course of this year we were able to build up communities all over the world and provide young people with the opportunity to get the education they deserve.

          5. You gave the gift of health and wellness.

            Nurse in yemen pictured in scrubs in front of hospital beds
            This year you helped vulnerable Yemeni families get life-saving food, clean water and health care. Mercy Corps supports several health clinics, like this one where nurse Afra works, which help families fight diseases like cholera. PHOTO: Ezra Millstein/Mercy Corps

            Healthy people make healthy families and healthy families make healthy communities. However, in too many places around the world, men, women and children are going without the basic food, water and healthcare they need. In 2018, with your help, we helped give 700,000 mothers and children resources to improve their health and wellness.

            Extreme drought in Ethiopia has caused food shortages, inaccess to clean water and increasing malnutrition. This year, we reached 90,700 people and promoted routine health, sanitation and hygiene education by engaging the community through theater.

            As conflict rages on in Afghanistan, your support helped us send our field teams to finish the construction of two health clinics and an emergency ward. Thanks to you, 11,900 people in Baghlan Province and 60,000 people from 40 villages of the Yaftal-e-Payeen District of Badakshan Province have access to routine and emergency healthcare.

            When health crises like disease and malnutrition broke out across the world, you helped provide immediate relief. With your support, we were able to train 12,700 health workers, who can now go and provide aid where it's needed most.

            You made the world a better place this year. Thank you!

            In the face of incredible challenges, you responded with incredible compassion and kindness. Thanks to you and your support, we helped 28 million people survive and transform their lives for the better. We were able to help communities rebuild in the wake of natural disasters, give refugee families hope for the future, help young people flourish — and you showed all of them that a better world is possible.

            We hope that you'll join us in the new year — here are some ways you can stay involved with us in 2019:

            • Donate today. Every single contribution helps us provide even more food, water, shelter and support to the people who need us around the world.
            • Tell your friends. Share this story or go to our Facebook or Twitter page and spread the word about the millions of people who need us.
            Help us provide even more support to the people who need us around the world.