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MEDA in Myanmar

Helping women in one of poorest countries of the world

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - January/February 2018

Allan Sauder AGM Speech 2017

MEDA is working to help 25,000 women in Myanmar, but is not involved in areas of the country where violence and conflict are occurring, president Allan Sauder told supporters at the organization’s annual convention.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is in transition from decades of political and economic isolation, and remains one of the poorest countries in the world, he said. MEDA’s ongoing work assists women in Shan and Kayin States to grasp new economic opportunities, primarily in agricultural markets.

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Christian insistence of keeping giving secret isn’t Biblical, businessman says

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - January/February 2018

The Christian view that giving should be kept secret is based on misunderstanding of two Bible verses resulting in a “secrecy doctrine” that we need to get past, a Manitoba businessman and former pastor argues.

Most Christians don’t understand the Bible passage they cite in arguing that giving should be kept secret, Peter Dueck says. “I would like us to get past this secrecy doctrine.”

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Demine Robotics

Company develops robots to clear deadly land mines

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017

3 Christan Lee and Richard YimCompany develops robots to clear deadly land mines

For Richard Yim, building a business to speed up the elimination of land mines is neither just a good business opportunity nor an abstract idea for making the world a better place.

Yim knows firsthand the human cost of leftover bombs from bygone wars. He and his family came to Canada from Cambodia when he was 13, five years after losing an aunt to a land mine. It’s still something that the family struggles to understand.

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A passion for social enterprise

GreenHouse helps students build skills, test dreams.

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017TaniaTania Del Matto

Tania Del Matto has a ringside seat on the next generation of people who want to change the world.

As director of the St. Paul’s Uni- versity College GreenHouse program, she walks alongside students who want to start businesses or non-profits, as well as folks who have an idea that they don’t know what to do with.

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Travel tales

MEDA staff encounter a variety of experiences during travels to countries where the agency works. As these stories show, trips can take unexpected turns.

Planes, strains and automobiles

Of all the travel MEDA president Allan Sauder has done with MEDA over the past three decades, the scariest took place on a visit to Peru 20 years ago.

Sauder and his wife, Donna, were visiting agribusiness projects in Peruvian jungles. After travelling all day to the main airport in Lima, they met a driver who would take them to a small airstrip atop the Andes. From there they would fly into the jungle to visit a palm heart project.Alan and Donna SauderAllan and Donna Sauder

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A passion for travel

Faith prints, wisdom exchanges part of TourMagination trips.

By Mike Strathdee

As Printed in The Marketplace - September/October 2017

Even in her childhood, travel was a passion for Audrey Voth Petkau.

“I always had a dream to see the world,” she recalls. “I remember early on, looking at a map of the world, and pointing to Switzerland, and saying, some day, I’m going to get there.”Audrey pita shotPetkau enjoys local hospitality in Ak Metchet, Uzbekistan in 2013

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A wicked seesaw of conflict and poverty

Armed conflicts reinforced by social instability

As Printed in The Marketplace - September/October 2017>

By Mike Strathdee

Dr. Samantha Nutt, the founder of War Child Canada, is one of the keynote speakers at MEDA’s upcoming convention: Building Bridges to Enduring Livelihoods — Business as a Calling 2017, to be held November 2-5 in Vancouver, B.C.

The excerpt below is from her book: Damned Nations: Greed, Guns Armies & Aid.

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Passing the baton: The Marketplace welcomes its third editor

Wally and MikeMEDA editors are a rare breed, partly because there are so few of them. Thus far the organization has had only two people occupy the editor’s chair — Calvin Redekop, who founded The Marketplace in 1980, and Wally Kroeker, who came on board in 1985 and will retire on June 30.

We are delighted to announce our third. Seasoned journalist Mike Strathdee joined MEDA on May 1 as publications editor.

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She sets the bar high

GORPFuel for the journey: Colleen Dyck in her basement kitchen where protein, fibre and Omega 3 are packed into tasty GORP bars.

Popular adventure product has a dual mission — furnish clean energy and get people out into God’s creation

Colleen Dyck got a call one day from a retailer: “Did you just pay three people to come into our store and urge us to sell your bars?”

It’s a business owner’s dream — to have customers help with marketing.

That’s what has happened in the four years since Dyck started manufacturing GORP Clean Energy Bars.

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New skills in Myanmar

Cavelle DoveCavelle DoveAs featured in The Marketplace - 2016 - May/June:

Cavelle Dove is passionate about empowering impoverished women. As director of MEDA’s new project in Myanmar, she helps women seize new business opportunities in the country’s changing economic environment.
Even before working for MEDA she was active in similar pursuits in Yangon, Myanmar. She and a Canadian friend, Kelly MacDonald, opened the Bakehouse, a catering business that gives struggling women a foothold in the new economy.

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Investing in better futures

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017

Neil Denison of MEDA’s Waterloo office shared the reflection below during a Sept. 11 staff meeting.

 19 Neil 002

People are prone to do awful things when they lose hope. When they see no future. When they can find no opportunities.

What resonates deeply with me about MEDA’s mission is our desire to help people see hope in their communities, to find the opportunities for a better life and future. MEDA’s mission is a practical expression of Jeremiah 29:11:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

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Winning Warehouse

Head of Virginia firm sees success through flexibility, trust

By Jesse Huxman

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017

Devon Anders is all about building relationships. Anders is CEO of InterChange Group, a Harrisonburg, Va-based logistics firm. From the outside, you might think the business is just a warehouse company. It’s really about relationships.

Devon grew up in a Mennonite family near Souderton, Penn. Much of his business education came from watching how his father, a banker, treated others. “I learned that it was about treating people right. …My approach has always been, ‘Hey I’m going to try to be upfront with where I’m at with you, and I want you to do the same back to me.”Devon Anders

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Promoting Peace

Centre for Peace Advancement has helped non-profits and businesses

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017

Several registered charities — Pastors in Exile (an Anabaptist-rooted movement that connects young people in Waterloo Region with vibrant faith experiences outside and inside of church walls) and Theatre of the Beat (a travelling social justice theatre troupe) re-organized or developed their existing structure through work with Conrad Grebel University College’s Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement.

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Peace Ventures

Centre for Peace Advancement supports peace entrepreneurs

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017Paul 2 with Grebel logo backgroundHeidebrecht is energized by mentoring young people who are committed to change.

Paul Heidebrecht is a different kind of business coach.

Heidebrecht is director of the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement, an inter-disciplinary organization that takes multi-sector approaches to the advancement of peace.

In a region that has many organizations working to encourage and support business start-ups in a variety of sectors, CPA is unique. It is currently the only university-based program in the world supporting peace-building related start-ups.

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Challenges amidst business boom

Tech innovators, charities need to understand each other to tackle social problems

As Printed in The Marketplace - September/October 2017

Rapidly increasing wealth and inequality in North American high-tech hubs is forcing charities to reach out to technology entrepreneurs for solutions to societal problems as well as donations.

That new, uncomfortable reality means that both sides need to understand each other’s challenges, a forum on technology and inequality in Kitchener, Ont. heard recently.

The event was held at the offices of Vidyard, a fast-growing firm which provides a platform that helps companies analyze the performance of their online sales videos. It was organized by FaithTech, a nascent movement operating in three tech clusters across Canada (Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto and Vancouver).

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Eldercare lessons from Ghana

Who would have thought the soy fields of Africa could yield benefits in a seniors’ home across the globe

by Linda Whitmore

peopleCare

At first blush, you might wonder what a Canadian organization of seven long-term care homes could learn from women soy farmers in Ghana that they could apply back home. But learn, they did, and the experiences of a dozen peopleCare staff who visited MEDA's Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) project in 2014 have been incorporated into its culture and practices.

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Beyond bananas

Cavelle in boatAs featured in The Marketplace - 2016 - May/June:

by Cavelle Dove, Myanmar

I grew up in the most eastern part of Canada, in Newfoundland. My early years were in a very small homogenous rural community, where the most exotic thing that ever happened was that once a month we would drive to a larger centre and buy bananas. Bananas! It was a luxury and a reminder of a larger world somewhere out there.

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