Search our Site

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.

Subcategories from this category:

International Women's Day Series
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)).
Continue reading
  1762 Hits
0 Comments
1762 Hits
  0 Comments
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:

Continue reading
  1585 Hits
0 Comments
1585 Hits
  0 Comments
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.

Continue reading
  1603 Hits
0 Comments
1603 Hits
  0 Comments
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.

Continue reading
  1027 Hits
0 Comments
1027 Hits
  0 Comments
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.

Continue reading
  1251 Hits
0 Comments
1251 Hits
  0 Comments
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. 

Continue reading
  1359 Hits
0 Comments
1359 Hits
  0 Comments
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.

Continue reading
  1218 Hits
0 Comments
1218 Hits
  0 Comments
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
Continue reading
  1574 Hits
0 Comments
1574 Hits
  0 Comments
Sep
24

A conversation with my son: Early marriage in Jordan

Jordan - child marriage conversation

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 first installment of our #EveryoneBenefits blog series. This is a conversation between one of our Jordan staff members and her son on the topic of child marriage. 

On a Saturday night, I was reading the National Report on Early Marriage Status in Jordan, going through all the surprising statistics made me so sad. Just like other kids, my 10 years old son – Obada - tends to rush through dinner as he usually can’t wait to get back to “hot wheels cars”. But looking at my sad face this time he stuck around to know what makes me feel depressed. When he asked I thought to listen to his opinion, his perspective and thinking about early marriage.

So, we had the following conversation:

Continue reading
  1245 Hits
0 Comments
1245 Hits
  0 Comments
Sep
04

Our Gender Outcome Mapping Journey: Now we count them…

gender meeting jordan menGender Outcome Mapping exercise held in Jordan, as part of the JVL project. Recently, I traveled to Um Qais (North Jordan) to conduct focus group discussions as part of a Gender Outcome Mapping1 pilot, implemented by the Jordan Valley Links (JVL) project. Preparing for the trip, I mentally prepared myself for the potential responses and reactions that my colleague and I would receive to the question: “What is an empowered woman?”

As it turns out, that can be even more complex than we imagined.

Continue reading
  1154 Hits
0 Comments
1154 Hits
  0 Comments
Jul
18

Continuing the Discussion: GROW Works with Regional House of Chiefs to Promote Women’s Access to Land in Ghana

GROW land eventMeeting with the Regional House of ChiefsOn Monday July 9th, the GROW project supported the Regional House of Chiefs of the Upper West Region in conducting a Land Tenure Advocacy Meeting hosted by the House of Chiefs. As a GROW staff member, I witnessed firsthand the momentous occasion of 26 Chiefs and 25 Queen Mothers coming together on a Monday morning specifically to discuss increasing land rights in the Upper West region.

Continue reading
  1208 Hits
0 Comments
1208 Hits
  0 Comments
Jun
25

Oak Forests and Olive Trees: Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods with Jordan Valley Links

olive tree jordanA Roman Olive stands guard over the wild oak in the village of Wadi Al Tawaheen, Kufranjeh in Ajloun, Jordan

Now that we have captured your attention we would like to bring you on a road trip through Northern Jordan. The journey starts in Jordan’s capital, Amman, and brings you through the Jordan Valley and into the Ajloun mountains where you discover the connection between Jordan’s wild oak forest, a biscuit house and a precious 500-year-old Roman Olive grove.

Continue reading
  2034 Hits
0 Comments
2034 Hits
  0 Comments
Jun
11

Small Grants to Kick-start Youth-led Businesses in Nigeria: The Youth Entrepreneurship Business Support Plan (YEBSP)

cycle1granteesGrantees of the YEBSP 1st Cycle
Since 2014, 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.

Continue reading
  1336 Hits
0 Comments
1336 Hits
  0 Comments
May
31

Saving for Good: Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) on the GROW Project

VSLAThe perception that microfinance is improving the lives of low income families has been a hot topic among development professionals for the last decade. There are many debates and arguments in the media about whether microfinance has positive or negative impacts on the livelihoods of economically disadvantaged communities. There is no one right answer to this question. It all depends on the institution’s mission and purpose. In fact, there are various financial services providers who have been part of the movement for all these years, some for social reasons some for profit.
Continue reading
  2245 Hits
0 Comments
2245 Hits
  0 Comments
May
07

Youth-led Business: Investing in the Future

YouLead Cuso International

***This blog was originally posted on YouLead's Facebook Page, by Author Chris Stanley***

When the labour market fails industrious youth often seek to stand on their own. However, young entrepreneurs face numerous barriers; one major challenge is access to finance. Kate Ekpeyong, can stand proud as a woman entrepreneur who is proving to both peers and financial institutions that the youth of Cross River State are a worthwhile investment.

Continue reading
  1403 Hits
0 Comments
1403 Hits
  0 Comments
Mar
20

International Women's Day in Myanmar

myanmar1To mark International Women’s Day 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 in our “Press for Progress” blog series celebrating the power of women entrepreneurs and their partners around the world.

This is an important day for me, my first time to celebrate International Women’s Day in Myanmar since I came in June 2017. I have been in development work for more than 25 years and been working on women-focused development projects in different countries – from Philippines, Bosnia, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ghana and now here in Myanmar.

Continue reading
  2148 Hits
0 Comments
2148 Hits
  0 Comments
Mar
14

Discussing gender equality with families and communities: MEDA’s Male Gender Activists

Ghana, women empowerment

To mark International Women’s Day 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 third in our “Press for Progress” blog series celebrating the power of women entrepreneurs and their partners around the world.

Globally, gender inequality remains one of the fundamental challenges of the 21st century. Despite awareness about the importance of women empowerment growing globally, women are still economically, socially and politically routinely disenfranchised. Even though women often become the main or sole supporter of their households, men continue to dominate decisions at the household level which has caused increased poverty and lack of independence for women.

Continue reading
  1274 Hits
0 Comments
1274 Hits
  0 Comments
Mar
09

#PressForProgress: how one young woman is challenging norms in her village

International Women

To mark International Women’s Day 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 in our “Press for Progress” blog series celebrating the power of women entrepreneurs and their partners around the world.

International Women’s Day is an occasion to celebrate the achievements of remarkable young women, women like Mebrehit Hagos. Mebrehit is one of the recipients of the first round of grants provided to graduating agricultural students in in Ethiopia to start their own businesses. This program is being implemented by MEDA and Dalhousie University through the Agricultural Transformation Through Stronger Vocational Education (ATTSVE) project. The project, funded by the government of Canada, is intended to better prepare graduates from 4 selected agricultural colleges across the country to gain employment after graduation, including self-employment through entrepreneurship. The grant program is a key part of the project’s strategy to support Ethiopia’s budding young entrepreneurs.

Continue reading
  992 Hits
0 Comments
992 Hits
  0 Comments
Mar
08

#TimeisNow but GROW has been working for years

To mark International Women’s Day 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 first in our “Press for Progress” blog series celebrating the power of women entrepreneurs and their partners around the world.

IWD1GROW client, Rahama, selling her soya kebabs to MEDA staff

It is an exciting time for women around the globe with awareness of women’s rights activism on the rise through movements like #TimesUp and #MeToo bringing attention to overlooked harassment and treatment of women in the workplace. Additionally, it is an especially exciting time for rural Ghanaian women partaking in MEDA’s GROW program. Considering the United Nation’s International Women's Day (8 March) theme “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women's lives”, MEDA’s Greater Rural Opportunities for Women project (GROW) has been doing just that in the Upper Western Region of Ghana.

Continue reading
  1350 Hits
0 Comments
1350 Hits
  0 Comments
Jan
12

Empowerment Mainstreamed: Applying Gender Equity Across the ESG Standard

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.

Continue reading
  1472 Hits
0 Comments
1472 Hits
  0 Comments