New head of Mennonite international development agency wants to expand its reach
WATERLOO — Taking the helm of the Mennonite Economic Development Associates was a simple decision for Dr. Dorothy Nyambi.
"It's unique and it's sustainable," she said.
The Waterloo-based organization's focus — and successful track record — on supporting entrepreneurship to alleviate poverty impressed Nyambi. "That dedication to really taking things to the finish line, to let people sustainably get out of poverty," she said.
Nyambi will become MEDA's president and CEO in late November. She's taking over from Allan Sauder, who is retiring after being in the role for 16 years.
Nyambi was born in Cameroon and has worked in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, eastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and North America. She has dual citizenship and speaks both English and French.
She's worked in international development for more than 20 years after first practising as a doctor. Nyambi plans to put her medical experience to use in her new position.
"In medicine, it's about logic and critical thinking," she said. "I tend to work with a lot of detail."
Along with upholding the organization's mission and values, Nyambi said she wants to focus on a strategy to ensure it is relevant now and in the future.
MEDA was founded in 1953 by Mennonite business professionals. It works with 400 partners in 62 countries to help 910,000 clients earn a livelihood, provide for their families and enrich their communities.
The impact ripples beyond those directly given a helping hand to support themselves when the knowledge gained is shared. That's especially so when women are given an opportunity, such as learning how to grow and harvest a particular crop.
"Then they help others," Nyambi said.
Her aim is to make MEDA a household name and expand its reach throughout the world. Thankfully, she said, the organization's efforts are backed up by data that shows it's effective.
"It's about the results of the work speaking for the value of MEDA," Nyambi said. "The evidence is there."
Relationships will be vital for the organization to grow, and MEDA already excels at partnering with others to leverage projects and investments, as well as tailor a solution to the setting.
Nyambi is excited to join the strong team and to contribute to making the world a better place.
"I think an organization like MEDA has a huge role," Nyambi said. "I'm just really looking forward to being a part of it all."
Article by Johanna Weidner