Theory of Change

MEDA’s work is built on a foundation of Mennonite business roots and faith-based values, within the global context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We believe business solutions are effective interventions to address poverty. Through a market systems approach and strategic partnerships, MEDA enables access to finance and provides business and technical expertise to build transformative agri-food market systems that create decent work, allowing traditionally excluded groups to become active participants in a sustainable economy.

Our nearly 70 years of experience have proven that inclusive, sustainable agri-food market systems are built upon the cross-cutting themes of gender equality and social inclusion, innovation and technology adoption, partnership and contextual knowledge, and environmental sustainability and climate action.

At MEDA, we are growing and changing as we witness the ever-increasing pressures humanity and our planet are facing. We are responding and adapting to help alleviate the impacts of inequality, climate change, market isolation, and exclusion from markets through our work to create business solutions to poverty. Social inequalities, climate change, inequitable access to economies and markets, and lack of foreign investment are challenges our world is facing. In order to respond to global changes with sustainable and successful solutions, we have a comprehensive plan that is designed to be intersectional in its solutions. Our Theory of Change directs and guides our work. It lays out how we create business solutions to poverty.

The following is our theory of change:

IF MEDA provides business and technical expertise: advisory services and linkages for building and strengthening supply chains, including:

  • Investment readiness, shifting SMEs in emerging economies from reliance on concessional to conventional finance
  • Innovation and technology adoption for efficient and sustainable scaling up
  • Gender equality and social inclusion for equitable business and supply chain operations that benefit all
  • Environment sustainability to help firms and entrepreneurs adapt to the changing climate and engage in sustainable production
  • Connections between agri-food market actors through networks, business associations and supportive platforms for shared learning and collaboration


AND blended finance: concessional debt, equity and incentive financing to help firms and entrepreneurs grow their businesses sustainably and equitably, creating more and better work

TO small-scale food producers and Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) within agri-food market systems

IN partnership with South and North-based organizations, businesses, and networks such as:

  • Research and academic institutions
  • Financial institutions
  • Emerging market funds
  • Business associations
  • Public sector stakeholders
  • Civil society organizations

THEN MEDA will contribute to sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all (SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth).

This will result in a variety of positive outcomes for:

Small-scale Food Producers

  • Decent entrepreneurial work: for women, men, and youth, providing them with dignity, equality, a fair income and safe working conditions
  • Progress: ability to transition from the informal to the formal economy, accessing better health care and education options
  • Resilience: ability to anticipate, absorb, and recover from economic, climate, and social shocks
  • Empowerment: access to knowledge and resources, and agency to lead one’s business activities regardless of gender, age, or ethnicity
  • Food security: access to appropriate and nutritious food at all times

Small & Medium-sized Enterprises

  • Operational stability: secured supply chains based on win-win business relationships
    Sustainable, inclusive growth: business practices that create valuable jobs for women and youth, while investing in environmentally-responsible production
  • Investment readiness: concessional finance, advisory services, and technology incentives to prepare for scaling up
MEDA’s Theory of Change aligns closely with the following six UN Sustainable Development Goals: