• Photo: Norman Ng for Mercy Corps

The context

China is rapidly emerging as a leading economic power and an important player in the humanitarian and development space.

While China’s growing economy has created new opportunities for many, the widening gap between rich and poor has created new social and economic challenges, specifically for vulnerable people in rural areas and migrant youth in urban areas who have yet to see the benefits of the nation’s economic growth.

Access to stable livelihoods and adequate services remains a serious challenge, and addressing social disparities is a high priority. China is prone to natural disasters and experiences frequent earthquakes, landslides, droughts and floods. The impacts of climate change are increasing the severity of these hazards. Chinese civil society aims to create improved social services, but lacks capacity to meet the needs of the population.

Our work

Today, Mercy Corps is focused on working with Chinese civil-society and private-sector partners to positively impact communities in China and around the globe. Our ongoing partnership with the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation has greatly increased local humanitarian and development capacity.

While Mercy Corps’ work in China is solely through partnership with local actors, we have a long history of direct program implementation in the country. For 16 years, Mercy Corps worked in China to meet urgent needs after disaster and to help communities build back stronger.

  • Emergency response: Following natural disasters such as the 2008 Wenchuan, 2010 Yushu and 2013 Ya’an and 2014 Yunnan earthquakes:
    • Delivered critical supplies such as non-food items and hygiene kits.
    • Assisted with rebuilding infrastructure and worked with communities to reduce the risk and impact of future disasters.
    • Trained community members to identify children who experience trauma after disaster and provide curriculum to help young people recover.
  • Agricultural market development: Provided services to boost agricultural productivity. Developed e-commerce and farming cooperatives to grow the incomes of smallholder farmers through community-led, market-driven solutions. Worked with financial service providers to increase smallholder farmers’ access to credit, payments and savings.
  • Young people & women: Empowered female and youth migrant workers by teaching job and life skills, financial and business literacy and health education. Encouraged employers to invest in the health and well-being of their female workers.