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.
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.
Nigeria: Integrated Protection Approach In Nigeria
Mercy Corps Nigeria's Integrated Protection Approach, highlights the concept that issues of safety, dignity, and inclusion crosscut many of the challenges that Nigerians face in their daily lives.
Nigeria: Impact Evaluation: Reducing Conflict and Increasing Local Economic Activities
Mercy Corps CONCUR program illustrates the importance of investing in conflict management and social cohesion to improve security in the Middle Belt, Nigeria.
Nigeria: Resilience and Conflict in Nigeria: Analysis of dynamics and programming leverage points
What household and community characteristics are important sources of resilience when households deal with conflict and other shocks in fragile contexts?
Nigeria: Role of Religion and Religious Leaders in Farmer-Pastoralist Conflict in Plateau State
Mercy Corps Nigeria conducted qualitative research on the role of religious leaders and their impact on reducing violence by examining its Inter-religious Peacebuilding in Northern Nigeria (IPNN) program.
Jordan, Syria: Advancing Adolescents: Evidence on the Impact of Psychosocial Support for Syrian Refugee and Jordanian Adolescents
Mercy Corps undertook a rigorous impact evaluation to fill an evidence gap. Findings point to the efficacy of holistic, science-based psychosocial support interventions in complex emergency settings.
Somalia: Critical Choices: Assessing the Effects of Education and Civic Engagement on Somali Youths' Propensity Towards Violence
Mercy Corps undertook a rigorous impact evaluation to fill a knowledge gap and look at what works to reduce violence.
Central African Republic, Colombia, Guatemala, Iraq, Jordan, Nigeria: An Ounce of Prevention
Why increasing investment in conflict prevention is worth more than a "pound of cure" in addressing the displacement crises.
Nigeria: Motivations and Empty Promises: Voices of Former Boko Haram Combatants and Nigerian Youth
New Mercy Corps research investigates key motives for youth to join Boko Haram.