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Helping more people realize better lives

MEDA posts record results for second consecutive year

Sauder and Nyambi for pg. 8 January 2019 The MarketplaceAllan Sauder and Dorothy NyambiIndianapolis — As Allan Sauder’s leadership of Mennonite Economic Development Associates ended in 2018, the organization’s success in creating business solutions to poverty reached an all time high.

MEDA set new records, both in donations received and clients served, for the second consecutive year, Sauder noted in his final address to the organization’s annual convention in November. In the year ended June 30, MEDA received $8.2 million in private donations from supporters in North America and Europe, up 31 per cent from a year earlier.

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From medicine to development

Dorothy at her home in AncasterDorothy at her home in AncasterAs printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - November-December

MEDA’s new president is first doctor, woman to hold the position

As a child growing up in Cameroon, Dorothy Nyambi wanted to pursue a career in medicine.

Initially, Dr. Nyambi wanted to be a pharmacist, as she believed pharmacists cured people. “I later found out the pharmacist fills out the prescription. They don’t really diagnose the disease.”

That insight altered the career path of the woman who will become MEDA’s president and chief executive officer in late November. Nyambi, a dual citizen of Canada and Cameroon, will succeed Allan Sauder, who is retiring from a post he has held for 16 years.

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Keeping track of business

Ukraine farmers use Excel-based calculator to record costs, sales and the bottom line

Alexandra Harmash, MEDA Ukraine’s gender and cross-cutting services manager, developed a business calculator to help farmers keep better records.Alexandra Harmash, MEDA Ukraine’s gender and cross-cutting services manager, developed a business calculator to help farmers keep better records.As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

A few years ago, farmers in the Ukraine rarely tracked their financials in the same manner as most businesses.

That meant they often lacked the figures or evidence to show whether certain crops, or their business, was successful or not.

Even those people who used paper-based records, simple Excel sheets or accounting software lacked the guidance, business logic and direction to properly work with data in a way that would provide useful information.

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From farm to market

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Tanzanian firm processes and distributes natural products

CS pic Halisi factory signs resized to send to RaySigns at Halisi’s processing plantSara Kessy, pictured below and lower left, is the founder of Halisi Products. Halisi is a MEDA lead firm that works with 1,000 suppliers, mainly women farmers, in Tanzania’s northern Arusha corridor. Halisi, a Swahili word that means natural, processes soya meal, porridge, peanut butter and two types of honey — regular and stingless bee. They also sell spices grown in Tanzania.

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The importance of saying No

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Greg BrennemanGreg BrennemanGreg Brenneman, one of the world’s leading business turnaround executives, is chairman, president, and CEO of the private equity firm CCMP. Brenneman is one of the keynote speakers at MEDA’s upcoming convention: Intersections – Business as a Calling 2018, to be held Nov. 8-11 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The excerpt below is from his book: Right Away & All at Once: Five Steps to Transform Your Business and Enrich Your Life.

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Advice from Leviticus

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

NickRamsingOld Testament book a good guide for business decisions

By Nick Ramsing

Leviticus is a great business book. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that systemic poverty in the US wouldn’t exist if we used Leviticus as a business model.

It’s helpful to reflect on our perspectives of Leviticus: its context, central purpose and potential to help us today. Then, I can better explain my perspective as a business and market analyst.

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Teaching with Talking Books

Pre-recorded messages are an effective way of getting info to rural Ghanaian farmers

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

talking book deviceTalking books can be used by MEDA clients regardless of their level of literacy.

Teaching technical information to people who are mostly not literate can pose serious challenges.

But if use of books isn’t helpful, talking books can get the message across.

MEDA’s Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) project has made wide use of talking books through a partnership with Literacy Bridge, a Ghanaian non-governmental agency.

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An energy solution for 600 million people

Entrepreneur hopes to bring reliable, inexpensive power to southern Africa

By Mike StrathdeeX best for Africa storySiya Xusa wants to power Africa.

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

When he was five years old, Siyabulela Xuza saw his first airplane.

That strange sight led him to read about planets. The young boy decided he wanted to visit Jupiter and started trying to mix rocket fuel in his mother’s kitchen.

A few decades later he heads up a company that he says may soon bring cheap, reliable power to a billion Africans.

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Creating his own job

Nigerian entrepreneur sells artisanal products through Facebook page

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

Like many highly educated Nigerians, Jerry Doubles struggled to find work after graduating.

Despite earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial chemistry in 2009 and applying for hundreds of jobs over the two years that followed, he couldn’t land formal employment with the private sector, the government or the army.Jerry Doubles founder Made in JosJerry Doubles used Facebook to start a company. Photos by Tirzah Hea Halder

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Weathering the Storms of Entrepreneurship

Making lives better by lifting others

By Jeanette Gardner Littleton

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

HARRISONVILLE, MO — “My nicknames were ‘golden boy’ and ‘lucky,’” Mike Vogt says of his early vocational journey. He’d just left college in the 1980s when he landed his first job as a draftsman for a firm that manufactures stair lifts and wheelchair lifts. He learned, grew, was promoted in the small company, and was content.

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Entrepreneurs writing new energy stories

Scott MortonScott Morton Ninomiya

Inspiration from the Global South

By Scott Morton Ninomiya

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

Fossil fuels power our world in 2018: they heat my home and transport my family — probably yours too. The global story of fossil fuels is a tale of great wealth, progress and development. But recent plot twists are revealing big holes in this story.

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A flavor sensation

1 IMG 9413Vanilla beans provide an above average return for Tanzanian farmers.

Tanzanian firm partners with MEDA to grow farmers’ income

By Mike Strathdee

MOSHI, TANZANIA — Juan Guardado has abandoned several careers that could have made him quite well-to-do.

Money has been less important to him than making a difference and improving people’s lives.

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Faith and kiwi farming

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

Kliewer family kiwiThe Kliewers grow Mega Kiwis and thank God for making it possible.Three generations of the Kliewer family grow fruit on their central California farm. The Kliewers, members of the Reedley Mennonite Brethren Church, were in 1973 one of the first area farmers to grow kiwi. They established a Guinness World Record with a Mega Kiwi weighing over 10 ounces. This variety, 50 per cent larger than a typical kiwi, is native to Greece.

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Convention will focus on roads to enduring livelihoods

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Indy photoIntersections, Roads to Enduring Livelihoods is the theme of MEDA’s annual Business as a Calling convention, to be held Nov. 8-11 at the JW Marriott Hotel, in Indianapolis, Ind.
Greg Brenneman, a corporate turnaround expert who is executive chairman of private equity firm CCMP Capital and author of the book Right Away & All at Once (see excerpt, pp. 8-9), will provide the opening plenary address on Thursday evening.

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Overcoming barriers to development

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

more studying Libya 2Online training extends MEDA’s reachIn international development work, a variety of factors can combine to limit the reach and effectiveness of training programs.

Even when clients are clamoring for the services being offered, issues around culture, language and traditional gender roles can slow down progress.

Add armed conflict or political instability to the mix and progress requires patience, perseverance, innovation and ingenuity.

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Family empire built on life-long interest in seniors

schlegel family 2012The Schlegel family, clockwise from top left: Jamie, Barb, Brad, Rob and RonAs printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

By Mike Strathdee

Ron Schlegel’s interest in seniors developed at an early age.

When he was 10 years old, his father, Wilfred, purchased the Egerton private hospital, a nursing home in London, ON. Ron and four of his siblings, along with their parents, moved into an attached apartment.

He carried meal trays and ran errands for residents before school in the morning, again at noon and for the evening meals during much of the next two years. “Once I got the trays finished, I could go play sports.”

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Making a lasting impact

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Allan Sauder drives MEDA staffer Mike Miller and supporter Barry Stauffer in rural Nebraska.Allan Sauder drives MEDA staffer Mike Miller and supporter Barry Stauffer in rural Nebraska.

Outgoing MEDA president pleased by continued success of early clients

When Allan Sauder looks back on 31 years at MEDA, the last 16 as president, he often thinks back to his early international work.

“There’s no substitute for living in a country to experience both the highs and the lows,” he says. “To experience the depth of the culture, the language, and after a couple of years, realizing that there are limitations to what you can understand.”

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Growth by leasing

Tanzanian firm helps businesses access needed equipment

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018EFTA leased a greenhouse and drig irrigation system to this entrepreneur resized for articleSabas Shirima of Rombo, Tanzania, stands in front of oil expelling machines used in agribusiness applications that he leases from EFTA.

MOSHI, TANZANIA — One of the challenges facing entrepreneurs in developing countries is the inability to get credit.

In many African nations, purchasing machinery needed to grow a business can be especially difficult.

Tanzanian Banks are very risk averse, requiring 125 per cent collateral for any loans. Tanzanian entrepreneurs and farmers can’t meet that standard.

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Talking Technology and Theology

Business people, techies, pastors need to discuss digital addiction and new ideas, panel says

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

WATERLOO, ON — Pastors and people working in the technology sector need to learn how to talk to each other so they can collaborate to strengthen the church, James Kelly says.

Kelly made the comment at The Fusing of Minds: How Tech, Church and Business Can Create Together seminar. It was sponsored by Faith Tech, a Waterloo-based organization.

Faith Tech, founded by Kelly in 2016, provides a place for Christians working in the technology sector to share their stories and think about ways to apply their talents to pressing social challenges.JK for Faithtech storyJames Kelly

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The art of assessing the deal

Before MEDA invests in a company, a Sarona partner travels abroad to check it out

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

Serge LeVert-Chiasson is a firm believer in checking all the boxes en route to a potential investment decision.

“Making good decisions is more about the process around the decision and less about the people making the decisions,” he says.

LeVert-Chiasson is a Sarona Asset Management partner. Sarona is a private equity fund manager that grew out of MEDA.

Whenever MEDA is considering an investment, LeVert-Chiasson is called upon to kick the tires and look under the hood.Tree Global GhanaVisiting Tree Global in Ghana

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Climate and coffee

CDD WORKER WITH SEEDLINGS 3 Women make up most of the workforce at Caffe Del Duca’s seedling nursery. Photos by Mike Strathdee

Kenyan firm helps farmers grow beans amidst changing weather patterns

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

THIKA, KENYA — Arabica is the most popular coffee variety in the world, accounting for three-quarter of worldwide production by some estimates.

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Growing vanilla in Tanzania

2 Rehema and Martha KisangaRehema and Martha Kisanga grow over a dozen different crops on their three-acre farm.

MEDA partnership helps with irrigation, training

2 polinating by handVanilla flowers must be pollinated by hand.

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

Like many Tanzanian farmers, Martha Kisanga has a lot on the go.

She grows a dozen crops on her three-acre property in Lyamungo Village in the Machame area of Tanzania.

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For a greener future

MJ Patterson speaking at REEP HouseMary Jane Patterson speaks at an event at the REEP House for Sustainable Living. Photos courtesy REEP Green SolutionsAs printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

Kitchener group helps build more sustainable communities

By Mike Strathdee

Kitchener, ON — Mary Jane Patterson takes a long-term view when she describes the work of the environmental charity that she heads.

“It grows out of caring,” says Patterson, executive director of REEP Green Solutions. “Caring is in our vision. We believe by acting today we can leave our children a community that is more sustainable, vibrant, caring and resilient.”

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