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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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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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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Myanmar: welcome to the Golden Land

Myanmar - Daw Maw Maw LwinDaw Maw Maw Lwin planting rice in her farm in Kayin State

When I moved to Canada at the age of 11 from the Philippines, I found the transition to a new culture and climate to be quite challenging. Being back in Southeast Asia for my MEDA internship, I am reminded of home.

When I landed in Myanmar, I was a reminded of my childhood; from the simple village lifestyle where everyone knew each other to the bustle of the city. The Philippines of my childhood (perhaps even my grandparents’ childhood) is the Myanmar of today. Myanmar only recently began implementing democratic principles and policy after many decades of economic isolation and military rule. Currently, the country and its people are facing many challenges due to conflict, climate change, inequality and poverty.

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Embracing the aches and pains: recruiting cassava seed entrepreneurs in Tanzania

PartnershipMeeting with prospective CSEs at the local government offices in Kisasa ward.

I’m now just over halfway through my internship na kazi imenimeza kabisa – and I’ve been completely engulfed by work - but trust me, I love it! No coffee runs for me!

In my internship, I have the privilege to witness how MEDA’s BEST Cassava project is changing lives for the better.

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Dream big - just ask Christina

ChristinaOne of Christina's employees designing a beaded pair of sandals.

We sat on a wooden bench in a small shop tucked in behind the bustling street of Bagamoya in Manzese, Dar es Salaam. We had walked past many similar shops to find her, being embraced by the sights and smells of leather sandals being made, street food, and the dusty roads typical of the Dar dry season.

Christina is a small entrepreneur (SE) who has been in the shoe-making business for the past nine months. Her entrepreneurial spirit, however, has been alive for much longer. She graciously shared her journey with us as we sat in her shop watching customers come and go and her fundis (which in Swahili means employees) make sandals across from us.

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Gender inequality, power and accountability


This blog was originally published on Social Value UK. You can find the original article here. This is the first in a blog series exploring how we can tackle inequality through greater accountability. This blog illustrates the huge gender inequality and accountability gaps that exist throughout our society as has been seen in many of the recent sexual abuse scandals across many different sectors and institutions. It was written in collaboration by Catherine Manning, with overview and advice from Social Value UK Gender, Inclusion and Impact Management working group members Yasir Dildar (MEDA Associate Director, Monitoring and Impact Measurement), Kai Hopkins and Seirian Sumner, SVUK board member Jenni Inglis, and SVI board member Jeremy Nicholls.

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Bringing Rural Cooking to the City

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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The key to being a successful entrepreneur? Dream big and be brave.

UHBDP Client - OlgaOlga

There was once a woman in Ukraine who lost her whole crop to frost.

Some would describe this as failure.

But she didn’t give up.

She chose to dream big.

She chose to rise to the challenge.

Her name is Olga and she is from Ukraine.

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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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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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Celebrating International Rural Women Day at UHBDP

Ukarine UHBDP

According to the UN, women comprise an average of 43% of the agricultural force in developing countries. There is no denying that women play a pivotal role in local economies – particularly in rural, agricultural communities.

In southern Ukraine, 60% of MEDA’s clients live in rural areas. In many countries, women are the predominant caregivers and stewards of the home in addition to generating income. 

MEDA’s Ukrainian Horticulture Business Development Project (UHBDP) has become a platform for knowledge exchange for thousands of women from rural and urban areas, giving them self-confidence and support in their business initiatives. Together they encourage each other to not stop and not be afraid of change, because change is worth it.

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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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Productive land access in Ghana makes life sweet

Ghana GROW


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 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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