MEDA Blog

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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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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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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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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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 to host a world night (or is that Rain?) market

It was a beautiful evening, the quintessential kickoff to summer: clear skies, light breeze, and just hot enough that the 5,000+ people at MEDA’s first-ever outdoor World Night Market were excited for ice cream, lemonade, and tea.

Drums echoed from the stage, lines snaked endlessly from food truck to food truck, and hanging lanterns shimmered as dusk settled over Lancaster, Pa.

That was 2017.

Fast-forward a year, and two-time World Night Market Committee Chair, Laura Bomberger, found herself facing a rather different set of circumstances.

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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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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

 tareq

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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Convention 2017 - Building Bridges to Enduring Livelihoods

Ethiopia17

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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Convention 2016 - You're not gonna want to miss this.



Everything is bigger in Texas – including this year’s convention! This fall, MEDA is hosting Business as a Calling: Women Changing the World. What could be bigger than world-renowned speakers, fine dining, tours of cutting edge businesses and times for networking with emerging and seasoned leaders alike? Nothing of course!While the seasons are changing at home, jump back in time with us to sunshine and warm weather as you bask in the history, music and culture of San Antonio. The city’s famous Riverwalk and historic sites provide a premier backdrop for the festivities to come.

Among these festivities are a group of world-renowned speakers, women who will share about emerging topics at the intersection of faith and business. This year, we are ecstatic to hear from Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Sara Wenger Shenk, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary president and Sally Armstrong, winner of three Amnesty International Canada Media Awards.

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10 things you might not know about MEDA

1. We started doing economic development before it was cool.
Economic empowerment isn’t just a phrase that we pull out at parties. MEDA has been creating business solutions to poverty through impact investing, microfinance, agricultural and entrepreneurship training since the 1950s, and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon.
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5 Reasons San Antonio is probably the coolest place to be this October

We hope you'll join us for Business as a Calling 2016: Women Changing the World in San Antonio, Texas, October 27-30! If you're on the fence about coming to the MEDA Convention this year, here are five reaons why San Antonio is the coolest place to be this October.

1. The Weather

San Antonio is one of the southern-most cities in the continental United States. That means warm (ok, HOT) weather year-round. But there’s good news! In October, the average temperature in San Antonio ranges between 60 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 – 27 degrees Celsius. For many, that’s the “Goldilocks zone:” Not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

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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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