Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Economic Recovery and Resilience in Crisis Environments

Nov 10, 2015
institutional sponsor: 
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)


Today we face an unprecedented refugee crisis in Syria and recurrent natural disasters in places like the Philippines and Nepal. In this context, the SEEP Network is working to revise the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards (MERS). These standards articulate the minimum level of technical and other assistance to be provided to enable economies and livelihoods to recover after a crisis.

In this month’s Microlinks Seminar, we will discuss the MERS and learn from other field practitioners’ lessons from a variety of complex operating environments.

We will discuss questions like:

  • How have humanitarian agencies promoted economic recovery for affected populations in Nepal, Syria, the Philippines, and Haiti?
  • What lessons are most useful to practitioners regarding what constitutes an effective response?
  • What are some of the key lessons we need to focus on when revising the MERS?

The MERS were developed in 2009 and revised in 2010 with input from hundreds of practitioners on effective assistance to disaster-affected populations. The SEEP Network is updating the MERS with support from the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. This provides us with a unique opportunity to discuss the latest advances and challenges in global development and disaster relief.


Sarah Ward
Sarah Ward (Moderator)
The SEEP Network

Sarah WardSarah Ward is the lead technical advisor for the Minimum Economic Recove

Sarah Wardry Standards (MERS) initiative. She is a post-conflict/post-disaster market systems specialist with more than 17 years technical experience adapting market development approaches to some of the world’s most challenging contexts. She is currently an independent consultant supporting economic resilience and recovery and recently the Technical Advisor for Enterprise Development at the International Rescue Committee as well as the Director of Market Development for Mercy Corps’.  She has lived for many years in West Africa in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Benin and worked in counties across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

William Wallis
William Wallis
The SEEP Network

William WallisWilliam is a senior program associate at the SEEP Network.

William Wallis He is responsible for managing the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards (MERS) Initiative. Together with the MERS Steering Committee and Practitioners Network, he promotes the widespread use and adoption of the Standards, and coordinates it’s training and capacity building program. William has over 10 years of experience in humanitarian response and economic development.  He holds a Master’s degree in International Development from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Maryland.  

Dina Brick
Dina Brick
Catholic Relief Services

Dina BrickAs head of CRS’ Food Security and Markets Team, Geraldine (Dina

Dina Brick), supports CRS programs as they prepare for and respond to emergencies through market-based approaches, including cash and voucher programs. Her support involves proposal development, technical assistance in implementation, tool development, trainings, and assessments with a focus on market-based approaches in food security. Dina has over 10 years of experience in international agriculture, environment, and food security programming. She holds a Master's degree from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Vaidehi Krishnan
Vaidehi Krishnan
Mercy Corps

Vaidehi KrishnanVai has more than 10 years of experience in complex conflict

Vaidehi Krishnans and disasters in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. She is currently working with Mercy Corps’ teams in the Middle East focused on the Syria response. Recently, Vai managed Mercy Corps’ GSMA award winning TabangKO program in the Philippines. The TabangKO program worked to build resilience for 25,000 disaster-affected households in post-Haiyan Philippines by providing them with access to mobile bank accounts. Linking households with financial service providers helped ensure that program participants could continue to access products like interest-bearing savings accounts and livelihood loans.

William Martin
William Martin
Catholic Relief Services
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t;A specialist of economic and early recovery in highly challenging contexts, William supports the development and implementation of market-based/cash transfer programs for CRS’ emergency response around the globe. He is also responsible for analysis of the market impact of humanitarian crisis and relief efforts, protection mainstreaming and adherence to humanitarian standards. With a Master’s Degree in Local Development Studies from the Sorbonne’s Institute for Economic and Social Studies, he has more than eight years of experience working on cash and voucher transfers, food security, livelihoods and microfinance programming.