Published by
Mercy Corps

How systems-led responses are central to helping individuals cope and recover.

Markets are vital to our well-being and even during prolonged conflicts, markets rarely collapse entirely. People find new ways to produce, exchange, and consume. Not only do they find new economic outlets, they depend on their markets, social networks and local support systems more than they depend on external aid.

But traditional aid often overlooks these market systems. The aid sector needs a new vision for crisis response. It needs to be market-driven, leveraging the capacities of non-aid actors in local and global economic systems. It should ultimately give crisis-affected individuals the ability to drive their own decisions and secure their own lives and livelihoods.

This paper focuses on economic systems, but also on the broader implications for health, education and other systems crucial to life and livelihoods.