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MEDA focuses on reducing barriers to economic inclusion for excluded populations, especially women, youth and rural populations. We work with diverse partners, particularly the private sector, to create sustainable market access for our end clients.

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International Women's Day Series
Oct
09

Want to invest in social change? There's a way to do that

Photo of MEDA-supported business owner in Tanzania
 
Impact investment approaches have become increasingly sophisticated, targeting very specific improvements, such as increased gender equality and environmental protection.  Gender lens investment, or GLI, can promote greater gender equality by increasing capital for women-run businesses and supporting enterprises that want to create more gender-equitable workplaces. Green finance can incentivize the adoption of energy efficient technologies or practices.
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Sep
25

The reality of sexual harassment in the workplace: a reflection on Women Deliver 2019

White woman protesting with sign that says,

To mark Canada's second Gender Equality Week, MEDA is highlighting important issues and voices around women’s empowerment and gender equality in the area of economic development. This is the second installment of our #EveryoneBenefits blog series. This blog is written by MEDA Project Coordinator, Allison Nafziger on the reality of sexual harassment in the workplace and what MEDA's doing to ensure its staff and clients are trained and protected.

In June I attended Women Deliver 2019. Heralded as “the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women,” this conference had a lot to say about the theme of sexual harassment and gender-based violence.

The #metoo movement incited an important conversation about sexual harassment in different areas of society; from street-level harassment to board rooms. However, consensus among the general public about what sexual harassment is, how prevalent it is, who it impacts and, perhaps most importantly, what institutions can do about it has not been discussed. This is a lost opportunity.

In this blog, I’d like to explore these questions, drawing on discussions at Women Deliver as well as MEDA’s work in the area of gender equality and social inclusion.

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Sep
13

What tofu can teach us about trade wars

Nigeria WAY - Lami

Vegetarians take note! MEDA’s work in Nigeria is promoting better business for those growing plant-powered protein. One such power protein is the mighty soybean.

Farming is complicated; the farmer must manage pests, work in variable weather and an ever-changing climate. They often to have finance their own crop production and sometimes face economic and land barriers. Moreover, being profitable in a global economy can be difficult.

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Aug
30

Clean technology saves money. Here's how

Client in Jordan

The Jordan Valley Links (JVL) project aims to improve the entrepreneurial and business acumen of women and youth and reduce both market and socio-cultural barriers to their entry for enterprise development. The project provides access to finance and works in food processing; community-based tourism, and clean technologies, ensuring these sectors strive for environmentally sustainability and gender-responsive practices.

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Aug
01

Clean technology ambassadors are changing Jordanian communities

Ahmad NahnoushAhmad Nahnoush

Ahmad Nahnoush is a 27-year-old geology engineer, community mobiliser and ambassador for teaching families and communities on how to integrate clean technologies into their everyday lives. Clean technology is simply any process, product or service that reduces negative environmental impacts through energy efficiency improvements, resource sustainability or environmental protection practices.

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Jun
26

Sharing the joy of composting: Earth Day at the Canadian Embassy in Jordan

Jordan Valley Links staffAnwar, the author, Anwar’s daughter, and Eithar (Access to Finance Specialist) at the event

The Jordan Valley Links (JVL) project aims to improve the entrepreneurial and business acumen of women and youth and reduce both market and socio-cultural barriers to their entry for enterprise development. The project works in access to finance, food processing; community-based tourism, and clean technologies, ensuring all these sectors strive for environmentally sustainability and gender-responsive practices.

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May
27

Putting technology into the hands of women

GROW Ghana

Women in northern Ghana have limited access to agricultural technology and are forced to do most of their farming activities manually, from clearing land to planting, harvesting and processing. This limits their agricultural productivity in multiple ways. Women can only cultivate as much land as they can clear, and since they rarely have title deed to the property, they are frequently forced to move to new plots of land every few years, as their now-improved fields are taken over by male farmers. Traditional planting, scattering seeds by hand, results in low yields, and manual harvesting and processing results in products of inferior quality, which fetch lower prices at market. In addition, farming manually is extremely time- and labour-intensive.

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May
27

Is 'gender' just a buzzword?

Gender and Tanzania

*Trigger warning - domestic violence*

The past few months I have had gender equality and women’s rights on my mind. As a proud feminist, this is not unusual for me, however, something has been gnawing at me recently. It began with International Women’s Day March 8th, and several corresponding events around the day. It is clear that gender equality is a hot topic for NGOs, government, businesses and society. For many, this seemingly elusive, yet ever present term ‘gender’ seems to pop up everywhere these days, to the chagrin and skepticism of some.

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May
10

Imagine having only 0.1% of your country covered by forests – and those forests are under threat

Forests in Jordan

Forests are vulnerable and can easily be taken for granted in countries like Canada that are rich in this natural resource. In Jordan, a country experiencing the impact of climate change and deforestation through desertification, only 0.1% of its land is covered by forests. Forests are considered a novelty in Jordan; every year, thousands of tourists visit the country’s forests.

However, Jordan’s forests are under threat. As temperatures soar, drought and desertification are encroaching on the country’s forest reserves. This is in addition to the urban pressures brought on by population growth, urban sprawl and lack of awareness about environmental challenges.

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Mar
07

Avoiding the Motherhood Penalty in the Jordan Valley

motherhood penalty photo 1What gender-based constraints do women face when accessing training or skills upgrading opportunities? Do training invitations indicate inclusiveness of all women, especially those pregnant, breastfeeding or with children?

The motherhood penalty is often defined as the price women pay for raising a family. In North America, it is focused on systematic disadvantages in pay, hiring, and perceived sense of competence of women with children, as compared to men with the same qualifications.1

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Jan
02

Supporting Your Local Staff with Their Next Challenge

training in Ghana with EQWIP3Tindana, an EQWiP Hub Training Coordinator explaining how to write a professional CV and cover letter at the Wa GROW office

“Today was a really good day.” Those were my exact thoughts while I left the MEDA office on a sunny Wednesday in September after we had finished an afternoon-long training on interview skills facilitated by a team of local trainers from EQWiP Hub Ghana (Educational Quality Work Improvement Program). The Tamale EQWiP Hub is one of 18 dynamic youth innovation spaces located around the world. These spaces connect youth – where they are – with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace and to innovate entrepreneurial ideas.

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Dec
24

GROW Intern Spotlight: Farida Latif

intern farida2

At MEDA's GROW (Greater Rural Opportunities for Women) project office in Tamale, Ghana, we understand the importance of practical teaching opportunities, which is why both the Tamale and Wa GROW offices host local interns throughout the year. Since January of 2018, the Tamale GROW office has had the pleasure of hosting a Monitoring & Evaluation intern, Farida Latif. Farida is a student completing a post graduate diploma in Community Development. As part of her curriculum at the Trent-In-Ghana Program offered at the University of Cape Coast, Farida was required to complete a 3-month mandatory internship with a non-government organization. Farida had a list of a dozen organizations to choose from and decided to apply to three organizations in the Northern Region. The two organizations she heard back from were MEDA and CARE International. She decided to proceed with the opportunity at MEDA.

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Dec
07

Supporting Youth Entrepreneurs: Monitoring the Youth Entrepreneurship Business Support Plan

YEBSP field visitEmeka (Youlead Finance Inclusion Officer) visiting one of the YEBSP grantees at her place of business
For the last five years, MEDA has partnered with Cuso International in Nigeria on the Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Access and Development (YouLead) project. The Youth Entrepreneurship Business Support Plan (YEBSP) is just one of the many activities aimed at improving financial inclusion for young entrepreneurs in Cross River State. Three cycles of the business plan competition have been launched over the course of the project (see last blog with full update at Youth Enterprise Business Support Plan (YEBSP)).
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Nov
20

Bringing Rural Cooking to the City

soykit1
GROW women farmers had until Tuesday July 31 of this year to purchase new technology from the GROW technology fund. This fund gives them access to purchase machinery and supplies which will make them more effective, efficient and safe farmers at an affordable price. Some of the inventory they have been able to choose from were:

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Oct
29

Addressing one barrier for women entrepreneurs: Pop-up Daycare for Jordan Valley Links

daycare children Jordan Valley LinksChildren of various ages at the JOHUD daycare

The Jordan Valley Links project aims to improve the entrepreneurial and business acumen of women and youth and reduce both market and socio-cultural barriers to their entry for enterprise development. The project works in three sectors: food processing; community-based tourism; and clean technologies. On a recent monitoring trip, I visited our food processing partner – the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD). They are working on South Shouneh in the Jordan Valley, focusing on technical and financial management training for women entrepreneurs, and linking them to more profitable markets for their processed herbs and pickles. These women have been processing herbs and vegetables since a young age, but very few have the skills and market knowledge to graduate their food processing endeavors into a viable economic activity. The JOHUD-MEDA partnership is accelerating the number of women getting trained and linkages to market created for the aspiring women entrepreneurs.

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Oct
15

Women Feeding Communities: Celebrating GROW on World Food Day

Ghana GROW

To mark World Food Day (October 16, 2018), MEDA is sharing impact stories collected from our projects in the field. These stories highlight how MEDA is addressing food security in the area of economic development.

Mariam is a soybean farmer who helps to support a household of seven people. Mariam joined the GROW project in 2014 and is a member of the farmer group, Nimodongo meaning “one voice.”

Prior to joining GROW, it was very difficult for Mariam to get fresh vegetables in her community during the dry season. Her community did not have a proper dam to allow irrigation for their crops. She had to travel to the nearby market, which would take at least 30 minutes by car. The journey along the bumpy road to the market does not provide public transit, making it harder for individuals to reach their destination.

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Oct
04

Inclusive value-chain development: finding a place for women and youth

kristina at FAO event1

***This blog was originally posted on ypard.net***

The recent FAO and ITC event “Regional workshop on the WTO (World Trade Organization) instruments in the interest of Agribusiness and on export promotion” invited a discussion on building inclusive value chains in light of small-holder producers. Participants at roundtable were FAO and ITC (International Trade Center) Staff, international consults and Ministry representatives from Post-soviet countries and Latin America, several NGOs from the development sector.

YPARD Ukraine was part of the panel, and as the YPARD Ukraine country representative, I put together several examples of inclusive value chains.

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Sep
28

Why economic empowerment creates a world where #EveryoneBenefits

Afghanistan

To mark Canada's first Gender Equality Week 2018, MEDA is highlighting important issues and voices around women’s economic empowerment and gender equality in the area of economic development. This is the fourth installment of our #EveryoneBenefits blog series. Learn why leadership opportunities creates a world where #EveryoneBenefits. 

Women make up 43% of the agricultural workforce around the world. Although women make an essential contribution to agriculture, they lack the same resources as men. This limits their ability to provide for their families and contribute to the global economy. 

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, “If women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30%, raising the total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5-4%. Such an increase in food production could lift 150 million people out of hunger.” This means that 150 million people are hungry simply because women are not included in food production or the global economy. 

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Sep
26

Gender-based violence and #AidToo: A time for reckoning and action in the development sector

Kenya Equator

To mark Canada's first Gender Equality Week 2018, MEDA is highlighting important issues and voices around women’s economic empowerment and gender equality in the area of economic development. This is the fifth instalment of our #EveryoneBenefits blog series. 

On the final day of Canada’s inaugural Gender Equality Week comes a topic that has received a great deal of media attention in 2018: Gender-based violence and the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment in the aid industry. Springing from the #MeToo movement - where a number of high-profile celebrities and public figures were thrust into the spotlight, their indiscretions exposed running the gamut from sexual harassment to sexual assault - came #AidToo. #AidToo was a discussion that developed from the Oxfam GB scandal [1]. Consequently, a space for dialogue has opened in the aid industry, meriting an in-depth examination of the effects of gender-based violence both in the communities we work within and within our industry.

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Sep
25

10 Facts & Figures: Economic Empowerment

Kenya - #EveryoneBenefits

To mark Canada's first Gender Equality Week 2018, MEDA is highlighting important issues and voices around women’s economic empowerment and gender equality in the area of economic development. This is the second installment of our #EveryoneBenefits blog series. This is list is sourced from UN Women's Facts and Figures: Economic Empowerment page.

  1. When more women work, economies grow. An increase in female labour force participation—or a reduction in the gap between women’s and men’s labour force participation—results in faster economic growth.

  2. Evidence from a range of countries shows that increasing the share of household income controlled by women, either through their own earnings or cash transfers, changes spending in ways that benefit children and communities
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