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Creating business solutions to poverty

MEDA - Mennonite Economic Development Associates - is an international economic development organization whose mission is to create business solutions to poverty. Founded in 1953 by a group of Mennonite entrepreneurs, we partner with people living in poverty to start or grow small and medium-sized businesses in developing regions around the world.

We work alongside our partners and clients, funded by both private and institutional donors, to help:

    • Alleviate poverty
    • Support sustainable business growth and livelihoods
    • Women move into more valued and equitable roles in their economies
    • Businesses and small entrepreneurs gain access to financial services including investment, adopt clean technologies/climate-smart approaches, and minimize their environmental footprint
    • Improve local economies

We alleviate poverty by creating sustainable livelihoods for women and men, measured by income, improved processes, increased knowledge and the creation of more jobs.

Our methods have been proven time after time over our 65 years of experience. We've worked in 62 countries helping 103 million families, creating jobs for people, improved access to suppliers and customers resulting in broad impact on entire industries such as agriculture, tourism and food processing.

We believe that all people deserve the opportunity to earn a livelihood and that unleashing entrepreneurship is a powerful way to alleviate poverty.

Our Approach

MEDA's economic development is accomplished with two key resources: investment and advisory services for our clients. Our work is not done until it is proven to be sustainable, replicable, scalable and measurable. We also apply a gender lens approach to investment. To achieve this, all the work that we do is approached through two important lenses: Gender Equality and Social Inclusion and Environment and Climate Change

At MEDA, measurement matters. We don’t wait until the end of our projects to evaluate success. From the moment a project begins, we gather data to understand whether our activities are achieving the results we expected, what we can learn, and which approaches need to be refined to help our clients reach their true potential. We share our learnings with our partners and have a comprehensive Monitoring and Impact Measurement system integrated into every project.


While the focus of gender equality and environment and climate is embedded into the core of each of our projects, MEDA's expertise includes a full range of economic development tools: financial services, improved technology, business training, better access to markets and investment. Learn more

Our Values, Mission, and Vision

  • We seek to create, sustain and innovate.
  • We treat clients, colleagues and partners with respect and dignity.
  • We promote justice for the poor by helping them develop entrepreneurial skills and seize economic opportunity.
  • We value partnerships with the poor and others regardless of gender, race, class, ethnicity, nationality or religion.
  • We carefully manage human, financial and environmental resources by emphasizing accountability, discipline and sustainability.

MEDA History

2018 Annual Report

Through your generous support, MEDA continued to make a lasting impact in FY18, helping 103 million families in 62 countries realize healthier, more economically sustainable lives through our work with 401 partners.




Building sustainable solutions

Discover MEDA's projects around the world