The MEDA Network: FAQ's

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Browse our answers to frequently asked questions.

We use financial and technical expertise to build and enhance sustainable agri-food systems that provide decent work for systemically marginalized communities, including women and youth. Our economic development approach empowers hardworking entrepreneurs and farmers to build profitable businesses and livelihoods. MEDA’s work is fully aligned with our faith-based values and our commitment to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Our work is focused in the Global South – with a goal of creating or sustaining 500,000 decent jobs for people experiencing poverty by the year 2030.

MEDA was founded in 1953 by a group of Mennonite entrepreneurs, we partner with people living in poverty to start or grow small and medium-sized businesses in developing regions around the world.

MEDA’s origins are rooted in the aftermath of the second World War when thousands of Russian Mennonites fled as refugees to the country of Paraguay. There, they established strong communities that were grounded in peace, justice and entrepreneurship. Many of the people that fled violence in Russia were skilled craftspeople and capable farmers and were eager to set up their own businesses, but they lacked financial capital, and key resources.

Mennonite Economic Development Associates was born out of the need to provide small businesses with capital, business training, microloans and investment. That’s what we continue to do today.

Known once as local ‘chapters’ but now referred to as Network Hubs, these groups were formed by professional businesspeople who related to each other as Christians who were passionate about entrepreneurship and business positions to poverty. The groups gathered regularly for dinner meetings to hear guest speakers on topics related to faith and business, and to support different MEDA projects around the world.

Today, our Network Hubs have evolved into volunteer groups that are an integral part of MEDA, as they help to further our mission in their local communities. They plan and host events around faith and business to bring awareness to MEDA’s work in the Global South.

Our Network Hubs raise about $300,000 annually in support of MEDA projects around the globe!

MEDA’s vision is that all people may unleash their God-given potential to earn a livelihood, provide for families and enrich communities. Network Hubs share in this vision for communities around the globe and at home and subscribe to MEDA’s core values of:

  • Collaboration: We value inclusive and diverse partnerships regardless of income, gender, race, class, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. We build relationships of trust and peace.
  • Accountability: We manage human, financial and environmental resources with care and integrity.
  • Respect: We treat clients, colleagues and partners with respect and dignity.
  • Entrepreneurship: We seek sustainable innovation. We promote justice by partnering with entrepreneurial people experiencing poverty to attain business success.

Yes! To start a Network Hub, there should be a minimum of 3 committee members. Typically, the Networks Hub would consist of a leader, treasurer and secretary to get started. The group would meet periodically throughout the year to plan events, fundraisers and activities.

MEDA’s Constituent Engagement Officer will provide you with a welcome package to get started. As a volunteer and advocate for MEDA, we will provide you with the necessary tools and support to help your committee plan seamless events.

Starting a hub can be a great way to:

  • Network within your community and build long-lasting friendships and partnerships.
  • Be an advocate and stay engaged with MEDA’s work globally.
  • Create a space for like-minded businesspeople and entrepreneurs to gather and support International Development.
  • Share your business and faith knowledge with others.
  • Provide mentorship or be mentored in business.
  • Focus on professional development.
  • Give back to your local and global communities.

When you participate in a network hub committee or attend events, you:

  • Help to raise awareness about MEDA’s work around the globe to bring business solutions to poverty.
  • Learn how to incorporate your values into your professional life.
  • Meet and build long-lasting relationships with other like-minded individuals, who are passionate about social justice, equality, entrepreneurship, and business.

Contact MEDA’s Constituent Engagement Officer for more information at: events@meda.org.

Contact

For any questions about MEDA events and networks, contact events@meda.org.