Life Transformation: The Journey of a Sales Agent


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.

Damata is a one of GROW’s Lead Farmers. She is widowed with seven children. Following the death of her husband, Damata wanted her children to continue to attend school, despite the pressures of being the family’s sole provider and caregiver. “My children’s education is my business,” she stated.

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Faith and business in the Sunshine State

Business Leaders ConferenceSue with her husband and two children


Attending MEDA’s Entrepreneur’s Conference—now called Business Leader’s Conference—is something my husband Galen has enjoyed for the past several years. He always comes home refreshed and with thought-provoking ideas gleaned from the meetings and his conversations with other participants.

Last year when I retired from classroom teaching, I was happy to have the time to be able to participate in the conference and experience the weekend firsthand.

Traveling to Florida during the winter months is certainly a plus. The accommodations, interesting restaurant choices, local business tour and local sites were enjoyable.

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

kristina at FAO event1

***This blog was originally posted on***

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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MEDAx Trailblazer: Get to know Jono Cullar

Jono MEDA Waterloo

We can all agree that the current job market is tough for young professionals. But Jonathan Cullar has a trick up his sleeve. 


Don’t agree? You should meet him – he might change your mind.

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MEDAx writer, reader, changemaker: Meet Alena Yoder

Alana - writer, reader and changemaker

Fast fact: Alena Yoder loves to read.

Each book on her coffee table has a purpose. There’s the “capacity-building book.” There’s the “challenging book.” There’s the fun, easy read, which for Alena, is likely to be a memoir.

And then there’s the constantly growing stack of “to-read-soon.”

“I’ve always been an avid reader,” Yoder said. “I love stories...the stories of people, of what they do and how they think...of other places. It’s easy for me to get caught in other worlds.”

Her love transcends bedtime ritual and rainy-day hobby. For Yoder, stories have guided her from point A to B throughout her life.

It was stories that helped her transition back to the United States after spending six years of her childhood in Kenya.

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Why economic empowerment creates a world where #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 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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#EveryoneBenefits from Productive Land Access

Ghana GROW

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 third installment of our #EveryoneBenefits blog series. Learn why land tenure creates a world where #EveryoneBenefits. 

Have you ever enjoyed a piece of delicious, aromatic chocolate purchased in Canada? If so, its likely that chocolate was comprised of tasty cocoa imported from Ghana [1]. As chocolate lovers around the globe continue to multiply, so does the cocoa supply chain. Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are two of the world’s largest cocoa-growing countries [2] and they supply cocoa to chocolate giants, such as Hershey’s and Nestle [3].

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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 installment 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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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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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:

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Dar es Salaam – a city of hospitality & entrepreneurship

Tanzania - SSBVC project

Moving across the world to a new city has been both an overwhelming and rewarding experience. As I settle into a new routine and learn to navigate a new city, I reflect on the people and experiences I have had thus far.

Let’s just say, it’s been amazing!

I arrived in Dar late on a Wednesday evening. The next morning, I arrived at the office to meet staff and receive orientation and training on MEDA’s SSBVC project.

SSBVC stands for Strengthening Small Business Value Chains (Kuza Biashara Sawia) project. This project aims to contribute to Tanzania’s economic growth and increase job creation by sustainably improving the business performance of small, growing businesses (SGBs) and small entrepreneurs.

You may be asking, how is MEDA involved in this process?

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"I missed this energy. It was nice to be back."


The first month of my internship with MEDA has served as a great reminder of the vast contrasts the world contains.

In 2012, I immigrated from Kenya to Canada, and for the past six years, I have called Canada home. These years have been filled with wonderful experiences and I quickly became accustomed to the “Western lifestyle”.

Here in Mwanza, Tanzania I am reminded of my childhood. The atmosphere is very different than I am accustomed to – even as a child of Nairobi. The drive from the airport to my residence was a trip down memory lane as I watched the boda-bodas (motorcycles used to transport people and goods) weave through traffic. As I whizzed through Mwanza in the night, I saw street-sellers hawking their wares. I reflected on how entrepreneurship is interwoven into the very fabric of all societies around the world. The hustle of entrepreneurs in cities like Mwanza make the world turn.

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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.

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Let us introduce you to our new interns!

 InternsFrom left to right: Rameesha, Davies, Chrissy and Rilian

At MEDA, we believe in the next generation of development professionals. That's why we invest in their careers and help them to gain practical, hands-on international experience that compliments the skills they have learned through their education. 

Let us introduce you to these four amazing people!

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Does kindness matter over time?

GrammaMy grandma and I with my favourite dump truck. I remember the seashell below the table, and her many plants and doilies. She also had great fuzzy slippers.


I wish you could have met my godmother.

I call her grandma as I have known her all my life. She was a stout German lady with kind eyes and hugs. She would give me ’S’ shaped shortbread cookies (my initials are 'SS'), a funny card, and a dollar for every year I was old on my birthday. She was all the things I dream a grandma should be.

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MEDAx Trailblazer: Get to know Corine Graber-Alvarez

niles gallery images 5

To keep up with Corine Graber Alvarez, you’re going to need to move quick.

At 26 years old, this professional accountant and newly-minted MBA candidate is on the move—and has been since an early age.

Graber Alvarez was born in Puerto Rico, spent adolescence in the Philippines, Texas and Indiana, launched her professional career in Chicago, and this fall will begin a new chapter as an MBA candidate at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (N.H.).

She isn’t sure when exactly she first came across MEDA, but between one adventure or another, she found a natural fit with MEDA’s 65-year-old tried-and-true tradition of ‘creating business solutions to poverty.’

Her interest was solidified when she served as a volunteer accountant for a MEDA-started financial institution in Nicaragua.

“I’ve seen the value, firsthand, of the projects and people supported by MEDA,” she said.

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Paving the way in the Land of the Pure


The word Pakistan literally means “Land of the Pure” and I am blessed that, through MEDA, I am able to serve the people of my native country while enjoying what life in Canada has to offer. Maybe it is not a coincidence that the PAVE Pakistan project deals with purity – the purity of seeds – where the cycle of food production is first given birth and takes root.


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La finance verte, c'est important!

Kenya M-SAWA

This blog was originally posted in English. Read the original here.

La finance verte, c'est important! Les températures battent des records de chaleur dans le monde entier. En fait, les températures de surface de la Terre en 2017 se classaient au deuxième rang des températures les plus chaudes depuis 1880, selon une analyse de la NASA. Lorsque les températures augmentent, la glace fond et l'eau des glaciers et des calottes glaciaires s'écoule vers les mers. Lorsque l'eau de mer se réchauffe, elle augmente en volume et, par conséquent, le niveau de la mer augmente. Les mers plus chaudes amènent également plus de précipitations, et l'élévation du niveau de la mer est plus susceptible de rendre les tempêtes côtières, y compris les ouragans, plus dommageables. [1] Ce n'est pas une coïncidence que les ouragans qui se produisent dans certaines régions, y compris dans l’océan Atlantique nord, se soient intensifiés au cours des deux ou trois dernières décennies.

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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.

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