MEDA supporters celebrate 60 years at convention

Conventon-2013-Thursday-PlenaryFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2013

Wichita crowd wowed by MEDA's growth over past 10 years

WATERLOO, ON - MEDA - Mennonite Economic Development Associates' annual convention Nov. 7-10 in Wichita, KS was a time to celebrate 60 years of global innovation and reflect on the organization's remarkable growth in impact in the past decade.

With a theme of Cultivating Solutions: Harvesting Hope, 500+ convention attendees discussed how MEDA creates uniquely sustainable business solutions to poverty and were inspired by the stories of hope and life-changing impact.

At the annual general meeting (AGM), president Allan Sauder outlined some key indicators of MEDA's growth:

• In 2003, MEDA worked in 25 countries with 50 partners to reach 250,000 clients. In 2013, MEDA worked in 49 countries through 223 partners to help 42 million families realize healthier, more economically sustainable lives.
• This growth has been made possible with an ever-increasing level of support from private contributors, foundations, governments and institutional donors to the tune of $41 million this past year – almost seven times the $6 million operating budget of 2003.

"Together we are creating business solutions to poverty because everyone deserves an opportunity to earn a livelihood," said Sauder, a sentiment that resonated with those in attendance.

Another highlight of convention was the 60th anniversary celebration, where attendees enjoyed international cuisine while listening to jazz music and tales from MEDA's humble beginnings. The fundraising auction that followed raised $86,000 to benefit women soybean farmers in Ghana through MEDA's GROW (Greater Rural Opportunities for Women) project.

Engaging plenary speakers brought exciting topics to the forefront: Robert Thompson warned of the upcoming challenges humans faces as they try to solve the global food security crisis, David Haskell sparked healthy debate on how we can achieve our dreams and MEDA's own Marion Good touched hearts with personal story of overcoming obstacles along with the stories of women clients she's met on her travels.

MEDA's student case competition offers university and college students at convention practical experience in solving real business problems. Six student teams accepted the challenge to develop a business plan for local business Prairie Harvest of Newton, KS and presented their proposals to a panel of judges. After a busy afternoon of intense competition, Goshen College came out on top, yet all participants came away with new insight on how businesses operate.

MEDA's annual convention offers a host of inspiring plenary speakers, informative seminars, tours and networking sessions over the four-day event. To view the recordings from this year's sessions, please visit Mark your calendar for Nov 6-9, 2014, when their convention focused on Human Dignity Through Entrepreneurship will be held in Winnipeg, MB.


For more information, please contact:
Linda Whitmore - [email protected]
Jaclyn Stief - [email protected]

About Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)
MEDA is an international development organization founded in 1953 that creates sustainable business solutions to poverty. For 60 years, we have partnered with the poor to help them start or grow small and medium-sized businesses in developing regions around the world. Our goal is to unleash entrepreneurship and empower people to permanently change their lives. Our expertise includes bringing financial services, improved technology, business training and better access markets for entrepreneurs along with providing equity investment opportunities. We focus on bringing a comprehensive set of solutions for either growing or starting businesses for those in rural areas, low-income women, and youth. We invest in our clients' dreams and share risk with those we serve.