Mercy Corps works almost exclusively in high-risk conflict and transitional environments, countries affected by civil wars, economic and political crises, or natural disasters. These are difficult places to operate, but we believe that transitional environments also offer tremendous opportunities for positive change. We therefore implement peacebuilding programs in some of the world’s toughest places — fragile or critically weak states that are at a high or moderately high risk of instability, including Iraq, Somalia, Central Africa Republic, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
Violent conflict takes a terrible toll on developing countries. It destroys infrastructure, disrupts trade, distorts markets, and can reverse decades of development. Conflict-affected nations suffer severe refugee crises and population loss. There are around 40.8 million internally-displaced persons and more than 21.3 million refugees worldwide, most of whom are fleeing from violence. Generations of children have grown up believing that violence is the only way to find a job, to find meaning, or to simply stay alive. These destabilizing elements combine to create ‘conflict traps’ that keep countries in cycles of violence for decades.
Helping communities find ways to break the cycle of violence and promote peaceful change is at the heart of Mercy Corps’ mandate. We believe that — given the right tools, skills, and support — people are eager to understand the complex tensions and challenges they face and address them in a way that promotes peace and development.
We work with communities in three key ways:
1) to prevent conflict by increasing social cohesion and addressing underlying drivers of conflict;
2) to peacefully resolve and manage conflict by building and strengthening leaders and institutions to mitigate tensions and disputes that arise in their communities and regions; and
3) to reduce participation in violence by addressing grievances and providing peaceful alternatives for creating change.
Our work builds on an exceptionally strong historical foundation. Since the late 1990s, Mercy Corps has implemented more than 100 conflict management programs in more than 40 African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Balkan, and Latin American countries, making Mercy Corps a true leader in the field.
Afghanistan, Somalia: Driven to Leave: Aid and Migration
Niger: Niger: Developing a tool to assess community vulnerability to recruitment by armed extremist groups
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Cultivating Stability: Agriculture systems, conflict & resilience
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Beyond Cash: Making Markets Work in Crisis
Outlining a better approach to crisis response
Central African Republic: Conflict Analysis in Bouar, CAR
Mercy Corps in the Central African Republic (CAR) recently carried out a conflict analysis which provides an in-depth look at the actors, interests, and drivers of conflict in the Bouar region, while also providing recommendations aimed at de-escalating the conflict.
Central African Republic: The Humanitarian System in CAR: A Time of Challenges
Mercy Corps in the Central African Republic (CAR) published a report on the current humanitarian system in CAR, and recommendations for how to improve it.
Syria: The Wages of War
The U.N. estimates that 8 in 10 people in Syria, including 6 million children, require humanitarian assistance. The crisis has set Syria's development back nearly four decades. Despite these immense challenges, Mercy Corps' work in Syria has found that some households are managing the devastating impacts of war better than others. This study explores why.
Afghanistan: Can Economic Interventions Reduce Violence?
Impacts of vocational training and cash transfers on youth support for political violence in Afghanistan.
Kyrgyzstan: Vulnerable to Manipulation
Research conducted by Mercy Corps and Foundation for Tolerance International in the Kyrgyz Republic explores risk factors for youth participation in violence.
Mali: “We Hope and We Fight”: Youth, Communities, and Violence in Mali
This research informs a set of actionable recommendations for policymakers, donors, and civil society organizations for increasing the likelihood of the peace process’s success through investments aimed at preventing youth participation in violence in both the short and long terms.