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.
Kenya, Liberia, Uganda, Zimbabwe: Why Youth Fight
Whether as victims or perpetrators, youth are often at the center of violent disputes.
Myanmar: Visibility versus Vulnerability
The change taking place in Myanmar has brought new complexities that require an integrated analysis of how economic and political vulnerabilities are tied to instability.
Myanmar: Intercommunal Violence in Myanmar
Myanmar’s continuing economic and political transition, along with a history of complex religious and ethnic disputes, has led to increased intercommunal tensions and violence.
Myanmar: Socio-Economic Analysis of Kayah State in Myanmar
In March - June 2013, a consortium involving Mercy Corps and four other INGO and NGO partners conducted a socio-economic analysis of Kayah State in Myanmar with funding from the European Union.
Lebanon: The Role of Municipalities in the Syria Refugee Crisis
Mercy Corps, with funding from the British Embassy in Beirut, conducted extensive assessments of 12 municipalities in Lebanon's "hot spots" to better understand how municipalities are responding to
Lebanon: Political, Economic and Social Instability in Lebanon
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Jordan: Tapped Out: Water scarcity and refugee pressures in Jordan
Jordan, one of the world’s driest countries, is dumping much of its water into the sand. This new report outlines urgent needs and key recommendations to guide immediate and long-term interventions.
Uganda: The Conflict Management System in Karamoja: An Assessment of Strengths and Weaknesses
"The Conflict Management System in Karamoja: An assessment of strengths and weaknesses” (April 2013) explores the effectiveness of the conflict management system in northern Uganda’s remote Karamoj
Ethiopia: Coping with Drought in Ethiopia by Building Peace
Promoting resilience has gained attention in the wake of the recent drought in the Horn of Africa.
Building Peace through Economic Development
The vast majority of Mercy Corps’ programs are in fragile states and conflict-affected environments.