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Gender Equality & Social Inclusion

MEDA is a leader in the integration of low-income and excluded populations – women, youth and ethnic minorities among others – into mainstream market systems. We partner with local business and organizations to sustainably deliver the support and services that allow disadvantaged groups to contribute to and benefit from economic growth. The empowerment of targeted groups to participate more equitably in markets with enhanced agency, voice and control over resources, is at the core of our efforts.

Recognizing that gender and social inclusion approaches must be highly context specific, MEDA collaborates with local partners whose socio-cultural knowledge complements our best practices and innovation in business solutions. For example, our early programming in Pakistan and Afghanistan sensitized MEDA to opportunities for women to become active economic participants in challenging contexts; youth initiatives in Nigeria, Jordan and Morocco have helped hone our expertise in job readiness, entrepreneurship and access to finance; projects in Haiti, Tanzania and Ethiopia have contributed to models for the economic integration of the very poor; and our recent work in Myanmar, Indonesia and India have fostered innovation to overcome social divides and achieve economic inclusion.

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Improved Access

To function effectively in markets, small-scale producers, microentrepreneurs, and small- and medium-sized business owners need access to reliable high-quality products and services. Women, youth, ethnic minorities and other marginalized groups are often overlooked by service providers who do not view them as viable market segments. MEDA raises awareness and incentivizes service providers to pilot new products and services with target communities, resulting in successful models for inclusive value chains.

Building Enabling Environments

People’s abilities to interact positively in different market spheres are largely determined by invisible structures such as social and gender norms, cultural traditions and customary laws. MEDA promotes equality, inclusivity and diversity at the household, community, business and government levels by innovating and apply context-appropriate social engagement models. For example: building support among community leaders and turning gatekeepers into advocates; involving men and boys as gender champions; and encouraging dialogue throughout various spheres of engagement.

Greater Agency

Greater agency improves people’s ability to take advantage of offered products and services including finance, inputs, information and market linkages. MEDA complements technical training and business support with strategies for developing soft skills, from confidence building and networking to negotiation and decision-making.

MEDA's Gender Equality Model

MEDA's gender equality model seeks to empower excluded populations by providing access to markets and services. A holistic approach to gender equality includes women, youth and men. By creating enabling environment solutions at all levels, MEDA improves access to sustainable products and services for greater agency.

Examples of MEDA's Work