MEDA Blog

MEDAx Trailblazer: Get to know Corine Graber-Alvarez

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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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How business support helps emerging-market enterprises reach lower-income customers

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Beyond Aid is a series from MEDA and ImpactAlpha exploring new tools for sustainable development. 

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The Book Business: How to measure market performance?

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Confession time: sometimes I buy books on Amazon.

I like the convenience of it.

While there is nearly nothing as delightful as perusing the bookshop aisle, daily demands sometimes dictate a few taps on my phone over finding the nearest Chapters or independent bookstore.

What does this mean for the book business?

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Building peace through entrepreneurship

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There are more similarities between farming and selling books than you might think.

Entrepreneurs all over the world are providing for their families and communities as they design, launch and run their businesses. With dedication and passion for their work, they build capacity, instill agency and create a robust economy.

This happens all over the world every day.

 

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Respecting the environment isn’t just good for our planet, it’s good for business

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In Canada, summer will soon be upon us. As temperatures rise, over 55% of households across Canada will turn on their air conditioners.

Between 1928 and 2010, the most common coolant in our air conditioners and fridges was Freon, a refrigerant comprised of chlorine, fluorine and carbon – or chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). Although Freon was most commonly used in refrigeration, it was also widely used in aerosol-spray containers. Due to its negative impact on the earth's ozone layer, the Canadian government began to phase it out in 2010. 

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MEDA launches innovation fund in Myanmar

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Myanmar is a country in transition. After emerging from decades of relative isolation, Myanmar is becoming an important economic actor in Southeast Asia.

With funding from Canada and MCIC (Manitoba Council for International Cooperation), MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates) is implementing a five-year project in Myanmar aimed at increasing women’s participation in the country’s evolving economy and becoming active, respected and empowered economic actors and leaders.

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Green Finance, why it matters.

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Temperatures are breaking records around the world. In fact, Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest since 1880, according to an analysis by NASA. When temperatures rise, ice melts and water from glaciers and ice caps flows to the seas. When ocean water warms, it expands in volume and, consequently, sea level rises. Warmer seas also mean more precipitation, and sea level rise is more likely to make future coastal storms, including hurricanes, more damaging. [1] It is no coincidence that hurricanes occurring in some regions including the North Atlantic have increased in intensity over the past two to three decades.

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Canadian government commits over $873M for blended finance initiatives. Here’s why that’s good news for MEDA.

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According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, it will take between $5 - $7 trillion US. On their own, current levels of Official Development Assistance are not enough, resulting in an investment gap in developing countries of about $2.5 trillion.

That’s a challenge. But MEDA, in partnership with Global Affairs Canada, is tackling this issue head on through blended finance.

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MEDA launches GEM Framework to empower women through business growth and impact

Gender Equality Mainstreaming Framework

Women are key drivers of economic growth, engaging in business as consumers, employees, leaders, suppliers and community stakeholders. Yet, women are frequently overlooked and underrepresented in the private sector throughout the world. 2017 marked the first year that the Global Gender Gap – an index measuring 144 countries’ gender disparity in health, education, politics and the workplace – worsened since its inception in 2006 (WEF). Recent events like the #MeToo campaign signal a sea of change for the world, including the corporate sphere. This is good news, since $28 trillion could be added to annual global GDP by 2025 if women participated in the economy at the same level as men (McKinsey, 2015). Businesses and investors who seek to understand and respond to the barriers women face will be rewarded – both in terms of growth and impact. 

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Wisdom from Wally: 19 Tips for a Fulfilling Life

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Wally Kroeker is the editor of The Marketplace magazine, a bi-monthly MEDA publication. He recently passed the 30 year milestone as an employee of MEDA.

My grandson turned 16 this year and some members of my family invited me to pass on to him some of the secrets of my, uh, success.

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Why I Cycled 150 km to Support Women in Myanmar

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As a student in the University of Waterloo’s Kinesiology program, I am learning the study of human movement. That means I spend a lot of my time in labs looking at how humans move from a cellular and musculoskeletal level.

In the lab, Electroencephalography (say that 5 times fast) or EEG, is a tool used to learn what is happening in the brain by scanning it. 

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10 Reasons to support MEDA

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  1. We’re sustainable. We believe the best way to help the poor is by developing local institutions and businesses that have, as their goal, becoming independent of North American help. In other words, we don’t want our projects to depend on perpetual handouts from us for survival. MEDA’s goal is to start projects, nurture them as programs and then “graduate” them to become independent businesses that no longer need us. Like proud parents, we take satisfaction in the growth and independent businesses in places like Ethiopia, Ukraine, Tanzania, Kenya, Nicaragua and many other countries.
  2. We affirm the dignity and self-worth of people. Aid can erode agency and promote dependency. By creating opportunities where people can support themselves, a sense of personal agency and ownership is restored. They aren’t getting handouts – they’re working to help themselves and support their families. They aren’t aid recipients – they are our clients. It’s a business relationship, not a relationship built on charity.
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MEDA Business as a Calling Convention 2017

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What was the best part of convention?

“Sharing our stories and seeing God’s work through his people in so many ways.”

“The presentations were stellar.”

“Variety of seminars! So hard to choose one!”

“Being with like-minded people all focused on the same goal of supporting MEDA and business solutions to poverty.”

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5 Charitable Gift Ideas

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At Christmas, we pray for peace on Earth, and goodwill to all. Our work of creating business solutions to poverty makes a critical contribution to peacekeeping.

With your support, we create opportunities for social inclusion and both household and community cohesion, and work to ensure that the tools to build sustainable livelihoods are made available to marginalized individuals and their families.

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Convention 2017 - Building Bridges to Enduring Livelihoods

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Vancouver.

Considered one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life, this bustling city on the Pacific coast is an exciting place to host our #MEDACon2017. This fall, MEDA is hosting Business as a Calling: Building Bridges to Enduring Livelihoods. What could be better than world-renowned speakers, fine dining, tours of local businesses and times for networking with emerging and seasoned leaders alike?

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Samantha Nutt: doctor, humanitarian & author

SamNuttEditIn this TEDtalk, Dr. Samantha Nutt, founder of the international humanitarian organization War Child, explores the global arms trade -- and suggests a bold, common sense solution for ending the cycle of violence. "War is ours," she says. "We buy it, sell it, spread it and wage it. We are therefore not powerless to solve it."

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MEDA on the move!

MEDA is on the move. With projects in 60 countries around the world building on partnerships with hundreds of local leaders and businesses, there is no shortage of MEDA momentum as staff strive to alleviate poverty through savvy business solutions.

The flurry of activity is not limited to seemingly far-away corners of the world.

MEDA supporters in the United States and Canada interact with MEDA’s mission through an increasingly diverse lineup of year-round events utilizing local leadership.

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#MEDACon16: A Convention to Remember

MEDA’s 2016 Convention, Business as a Calling: Women Changing the World, wrapped up just about two weeks ago. We’re not over the excitement quite yet, so we’re sharing some of our favorite moments from #MEDACon16 with you!
UnknownMEDA supporters take a river barge through downtown San Antonio
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Announcing: 10 Young Women Changing the World

Over the last two years MEDA’s 20 under 35: Young Professionals Changing the World Initiative has recognized 40 young professionals under the age of 35 for their demonstrated commitment to faith, service and an entrepreneurial spirit. We've had the opportunity to honor people like Chris Steingart, a web designer from Kitchener, ON, who finds his foundation for business in Mennonite faith values. Economist Kaylie Tiessen was recognized in 2015 for her dedication to improving lives through economic justice and growth.

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All the joy, none of the hassle: Monthly Giving.

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When you think about supporting your favorite charitable organization, you probably think about how much you want to give. Should you give $100? $200? You might give your gift online, give cash at an event or snail-mail a check. Have you ever thought about the amount of effort that takes? Do you wish there was an easier way to do it?Kaylie Tiessen, a recent 20 Under 35: Young Professionals Changing the World award recipient, supports MEDA in a way that fits her busy lifestyle. By enrolling in the monthly giving program at MEDA, Kaylie gives to MEDA on a regular basis and saves time and money.Kaylie Tiessen"As an organization, MEDA stands above the rest. MEDA has the most principled, sound and mission-oriented approach to development,” says Tiessen. “I'm very busy, and giving is very important to me. Giving has to fit into my life schedule, and that's why I support MEDA monthly through recurring automatic gifts."MEDA’s monthly giving program can help with monthly budgeting and environmental sustainability. Rather than making a gift once a year, a monthly gift lets you choose an amount you’re comfortable with, and it’s easy to plan ahead. We’ll send you fewer mailings, which is environmentally friendly.Monthly giving is effortless: Automatic withdrawal means you don’t have to write a check or go online every time you want to make a gift. Your impact is maximized when we can count on your gift. To top it all off, you can feel great because you’ve made a life-changing difference every month.Join us in our mission to create business solutions to poverty today! Enroll in our monthly giving program here. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Sarah French, coordinator, donor relations, if you have any questions about enrollment.Kaylie Tiessen is an economist working as a national research representative at UNIFOR. She was recently featured in the United Church Canada's UCObserver.
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