Watch the video above to learn how we’re empowering young people in Africa to go after their dreams, start their own businesses, and succeed — no matter what challenges they may face.
A roadside stand in South Sudan selling soap; an internet start-up in Gaza; a tofu processing plant in Indonesia: The global economy is connected by complex and dynamic markets. Mercy Corps believes in harnessing this inherent power to provide better opportunities for the world’s poor and vulnerable, half of whom live on less than $2/day.
Local communities themselves have the ability to drive this change and no two situations are alike. For this reason, we take a holistic, locally-led approach, working with communities, their systems and structures to build businesses, increase income and improve employment opportunities. Even in the most fragile and informal markets, we focus on intentional, market-based solutions, ones which can succeed and expand long after we’ve left.
Mercy Corps promotes safe, decent and equitable income opportunities for individuals around the world.
Forty-two percent of the world is under the age of 25; Mercy Corps tailors employment programming to the unique needs of male and female youth.
All stories about Economic opportunity
Kenya: Choosing opportunity over violence
Earlier this summer I spent three weeks in Kenya with Mercy Corps colleagues who are implementing an ambitious program called “Yes Youth Can!” (YYC).
Afghanistan: Students welcome visit from British government official
The normal school day at our vocational training center in rural Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan was recently shaken up — but students were eager to discuss the changes education has brought to their lives.
South Sudan: Building on hope one year after independence
South Sudan Country Director Mathieu Rouquette met these two little girls in the market in Bentiu, Unity State, when they peeked their heads into a camera shop that recently received a Mercy Corps business grant.
South Sudan: From the field: Local market perseveres after attacks
Mercy Corps staff visit the local market in Bentiu that was damaged in recent aerial attacks, part of the ongoing conflict with Sudan to the north.
South Sudan: Back to work after bombings
Much of our work is about giving people the resources they need to build healthy, safe and productive lives for the longterm. To do so in areas where conflict threatens not just livelihoods, but lives, can be especially challenging.
Afghanistan: Fathers and sons learn a trade together
Multiple generations are learning new job skills like carpentry in Afghanistan's Helmand province, where decades of conflict have limited opportunities to earn an income.
Ethiopia: Women transform small loans into progress and purpose
Like clockwork, every time I visit the Addis Ababa, Ethiopia-based Women in Self Employment (WISE) organization, my very first impressions are of the wonderful hospitality of the Ethiopian people.
Afghanistan: New graduates yield unexpected returns
The latest group of students to graduate from our vocational training program in southern Afghanistan — more than 3,600 of them — show that real success is giving young people hope.
South Sudan: Fighting prompts staff to evacuate border town
All but two Mercy Corps staff members have been evacuated from Bentiu, the beleaguered border town that has been in the news recently as the target of Sudanese air strikes.
Afghanistan: Behind the camera: Chickens that change lives
A photographer in Afghanistan experiences first-hand the tension and risk women face as they try to earn a living and tell their story.