As published in Canadian Mennonite.
Ashlyn Shantz of Heidelberg, Ont., right, shares a meal together with a local in the village of Win Poat, Myanmar.
(Photo by Byron Shantz)
When I originally told friends and family of my intention to travel with my family to Myanmar, I was challenged with the idea of a known global-crisis country as a travel destination. However, we were completely removed from any threat of the Rohingya genocide crisis in the northwest of the country. Our experience was in the south, where Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) is impressively rooted in creating sustainable solutions to poverty there.
The idea of travelling with MEDA is attractive, deeply fulfilling and safe. MEDA has an ability to draw like-minded donors who are ecstatic to show their involvement and support, in this case for Myanmar on the Move, an initiative to improve the lives of 25,000 women farmers.
As published on Next Billion by Linda Jones
While impact investing has become a buzzword in global development in recent years, the concept and practice had been around for decades before the sector even had a name. To take one perhaps under-recognized example, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) was launched as an investment club in 1953, when a group of North American Mennonite business people joined together to support the development of businesses in Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. These small businesses were operated by European WWII refugees and local indigenous communities who did not have the means to expand or improve their enterprises. Drawing on their extensive business background, the investment club members determined that loans to these types of business owners could catalyze sustainable economic growth. So these early “impact investors” offered loans as high-risk venture capital, mitigating the risks with the provision of business coaching and technical assistance.
As published in Faith Today by Michael Strathdee
Laverne Brubacher doesn't consider himself an avid cyclist. But in November the 73-year-old from St. Jacobs, Ont., plans to join 16 other Canadians and three Americans riding 355 km through the South Asian nation of Myanmar.
All 20 will ride in support of impoverished female farmers, people they have never met. Sixteen others, mostly from the U.S., are supporting the same fund drive by exploring Myanmar on a bus tour.
Each participant has committed to raising at least $5,000. Brubacher set and achieved a goal of raising $10,000. The Myanmar on the Move trip raised a total of $600,000 (www.MyanmarOnTheMove.com).