To achieve the most lasting development in fragile settings, one intervention is more powerful than all the rest: creating jobs.
Relief International’s economic opportunity programs are based on the belief that creating employment is the most critical pathway to building resilience for vulnerable communities. Our programs are based on sustainable, enterprise-oriented solutions. We help small producers and other entrepreneurs build businesses that transform their communities, create quality jobs, and increase productivity, market opportunities, and incomes. We do this by expanding access to small-scale technologies that are appropriate for fragile settings, as well as providing technical assistance, knowledge, and financial support.
All of Relief International’s livelihoods work is underpinned by protection measures. This means we ensure that groups with high vulnerability or special needs have access and dignity in attaining the economic opportunities they need to thrive.
Our economic opportunities programs include:
- Energy projects like fuel efficient cookstoves, solar power, and small-scale village electrification that offer environmentally-friendly solutions that lower expenses.
- Promotion of low-cost technologies, all locally manufactured by the local private sector using techniques that do not require costly imported machinery.
- Boosting incomes while protecting biodiversity through profitable resource management and industry building.
- Agribusiness initiatives that alleviate poverty through enterprise-focused agricultural interventions.
- Fostering entrepreneurship for forcibly displaced persons by providing training, start-up grants, and establishing community savings and loan groups.
- Providing cash-based assistance to families during emergencies or times of economic strain to stimulate the local economy.
- Establishing household gardens that enable women to sell excess produce at the market to generate more income.
Where we focus in economic opportunity
Enterprise Development in Fragile Settings
Life among the Mangroves: Eco-Tourism in Bangladesh’s Sundarbans Forest
Bangladeshi communities have long relied on the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest for their lives and livelihoods, exposing these critical resources to overexploitation. In recent years, Relief International has partnered with local communities to launch eco-friendly businesses that provide jobs while protecting this natural site.
Progress for Women Means Progress for All
Decades of war have taken their toll on all Afghans, and has particularly affected women and girls. Our Women’s Enterprise, Advocacy and Training Program (WEAT) is a five-year initiative started in 2017 and aimed at empowering women and girls in seven districts of Ghazni, Kapisa, and Nangarhar.
Training Female Entrepreneurs to be Market Leaders
In 2016, a vocational training center for both refugees and the host community was set up in Bunj. Here, 25 women are being trained in food preparation and baking.
Banking on the Unbanked: Microfinance in Iraq
Since 2006, Relief International has provided more than $60 million in credit products tailored specifically to low-income households and small businesses in Iraq that are unable to access financing through traditional banks.