MEDA Blog

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. 

Networking. 

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

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

Allison

Allison

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?

Ethiopian girls reading

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

Soy flower

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

CHC

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

Myanmar farmer

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.

Kenya Green Microfinance

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.

Myanmar

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

Hands

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

Myanmar4

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

 FEATS1
  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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