Mercy Corps is a global non-governmental, humanitarian aid organization operating in transitional contexts that have undergone, or have been undergoing, various forms of economic, environmental, social and political instabilities.
The organization claims to have assisted more than 220 million people survive humanitarian conflicts, seek improvements in livelihoods, and deliver durable development to their communities.
In 2019, senior staff resigned following public disclosure of the organization’s longtime inaction over its co-founder’s sexual abuse of his daughter.
Mercy Corps proposes a mission to “alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.”
As of August 2021, the organization reports to be operating within 38 countries, including Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Myanmar and Yemen, with programs focused in a number of humanitarian sectors ranging from conflict management, children & youth to agriculture and food security.
Originally established as the Save the Refugee Fund in 1979 to provide first hand post-conflict relief after the Cambodian genocide under the Pol Pot regime, the organization has since expanded its mandate to deliver humanitarian assistance.
In 1982, the organization’s founders, Ellsworth Culver and Dan O’Neill, chose the name of Mercy Corps to represent the broader international activities of the organization that has since been focusing on delivering durable, long-term solutions to a range of humanitarian and development issues.
The organization has been present in varying locations at different times – cumulatively, it reports to have delivered humanitarian assistance in 122 countries.
Mercy Corps delivered its first development program in Honduras in 1982. The program led to the establishment of the non-profit organization Project Global Village/Proyecto Aldea Global (PAG) in 1984 with a number of initiatives focused on development issues such as “health & HIV/AIDS prevention, domestic violence, education, agro-industrial development, microcredits, environmental development & infrastructure.”
In the next decade following the formation of Mercy Corps, the organization would gradually expand its mandates into the broader international arena, stationing in countries including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Jordan, Bosnia, Kosovo, North Korea, North Macedonia, China, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Haiti.
Mercy Corps incorporated the Conflict Management Group founded by Roger Fisher in 2004. Three years later, it also moved to incorporate NetAid seeking to broaden its scope of youth engagement in fighting global poverty.
Its programs have gradually gained structural and facilitating consistency throughout the course of the organization’s development, ranging from long-term market system development programs, such as the Resilient Communities Program in Mongolia that would last until 2019, to short-term emergency response programs, such as the organization’s post-disaster relief initiatives in Puerto-Rico after Hurricane Maria in the months following September 2017.More
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