ICC Aid’ economic development programs aim to catalyze sustainable and inclusive economic growth by strengthening the capacity and integration of economic actors to effectively pursue market-based opportunities. Our programs increase incomes and support local economies, being especially mindful of the needs of youth, women and marginalized groups. We use a systems-based approach that relies on comprehensive analysis, local capacity building, market facilitation and sustainable solutions identified and implemented in collaboration with the private sector and local partners. Our work focuses in six main areas:
Enterprise, Value Chain and Market Systems Development
Using a market facilitation approach, ICC Aid works MSMEs to leverage opportunities for growth through improvement in production, quality control and business management and facilitation of new market linkages. We build the capacity of new and growing entrepreneurs with technical skills development, management training, access to finance and access to market information—leading to increased sales, employment and incomes. INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN COUNCIL also works with innovative and influential enterprises to facilitate activities that lead to growth for firms throughout the value chain.
Workforce and Entrepreneurship Development
ICC Aid’ workforce development approach is demand-driven, focusing on market-led employment opportunities and entrepreneurship. We work with the private sector to customize technical training programs, provide soft skills and entrepreneurship training, and place trained youth in internships and apprenticeships for on-the-job learning and skills development. Through linking private sector firms, training providers, government and vulnerable youth in a collaborative action approach, we foster systemic change in the transition of disadvantaged youth to sustainable livelihoods by improving the alignment between the demand for and supply of skills in the marketplace.
Livelihoods and Resilience
ICC Aid takes a comprehensive approach to build resilience and reduce household vulnerability, working with households who have experienced or are at risk of economic, social, health and environmental shocks and those dealing with factors such as disability or lower social status. We build and protect livelihoods and assets while linking people to local networks of social, health and education services that provide critical safety nets. Using a market-based approach to income generation, ICC Aid also mobilizes savings, provides technical training, develops cooperatives and market linkages, and promotes entrepreneurship.
ICC Aid is an innovator in providing locally appropriate financial solutions. We operate a range of models from assisting community savings and lending groups with technical support and linkages to formal financial institutions to operating development finance institutions (DFIs) to providing loan guarantees. Over the past two decades, INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN COUNCIL has established DFIs in eight countries representing a growing portfolio of more than $50 million, mainly in the MSME and housing finance sectors. Our loan guarantee facilities, in partnership with OPIC, USAID and USDA, help businesses that are too large for traditional microfinance and too small for commercial banks to access credit.