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Mar
31

What to do when you can't visit the field: MEDA's first virtual trip to Ukraine

Ukraine farmer meeting with MEDA supporterThe image was taken pre-COVID.

 

Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking...we are now approaching Kyiv, Ukraine where the time is 11:30 am. Please gather your belongings and prepare for landing. Please ensure your video camera is on and your mic is working properly. We look forward to spending time with you. My name is Bethany Shue Nussbaum, Sr. Development Officer at MEDA, and I will be your host on the first-ever virtual Zoom visit to Ukraine!

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Mar
31

Impact measurement in practice: Creating sustainable business solutions to poverty in Pakistan

Women

 

Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) is key to reducing poverty and achieving equality between men and women. It helps grow businesses and economies and is central to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. WEE also improves the distribution of labor, wealth, and decision-making within the household which contributes to overall household wellbeing.

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Mar
26

Impact Measurement — An Important Challenge for Trade Finance

Impact Investing with Trading Up 1

 

*This article is the first in a series of briefs on impact measurement for trade finance. In this article, we will discuss trade finance as a form of impact investment, as well as challenges and emerging trends on the topic of impact measurement in the impact investing sector.

 

Trade has been cited as a tool in supporting sustainable development; however, a key constraint to unleashing trade is access to adequate finance. Currently, 80 to 90% of world trade relies on trade finance, a form of capital that provides liquidity throughout various points in the trade cycle.1

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Mar
24

Harmony Myanmar Agro Group: in tune with the land

Myanmar Kayin State

 

In Myanmar’s Kayin State, much of the fresh produce comes from neighbouring Thailand where it is grown on large farms, and chemicals are applied without restraint. Until recently, people in Myanmar knew little about the potential health risks from ingesting harmful pesticides and herbicides, but times are changing and vegetable customers in Myanmar are increasingly connected and informed. As they become aware, there is more demand for locally-grown, chemical-less (or when it’s available, chemical-free) produce.

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Feb
25

Beyond Numbers: measuring investment impact

Cimory - INNOVATE partner

According to the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), impact investing can be defined as “investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.”

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Feb
24

Shalom – God’s plan for kingdom building

Holding hands for support

 

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I see my work at MEDA as a gift from God and an opportunity, through service to others, to offer worship to God. It is also an opportunity for me to express my gratitude to God for the gift of his son.

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Feb
10

The First Few Months: Responding to COVID-19

Ghana staff member learning CPRGhana staff member learning CPR (pre-COVID-19)

 

When the COVID pandemic broke out three months into 2020, MEDA – like many development organizations – moved quickly in response. We brought staff back from overseas. Shuttered our offices. Stopped all but essential field activity. Our operations – both head office and field - shifted to a virtual model. All staff started working from home.

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Feb
01

Unwilling to Wait, Ready to Grow: Meet social entrepreneur Lunga Bechtel of “Vona Vision”

Blog.jpg

 

Social entrepreneur Lunga Bechtel decided to leave Mozambique for his father’s home country, the United States, after his junior year of high school. Leaving was part of the plan. Leaving a year before high school graduation was not. Senior year of high school might seem an inopportune moment for a move around the world. For Bechtel, it felt part of a natural cycle.

The son of a wildlife conservationist and a rural development specialist, Bechtel’s childhood was segmented by his father and mother’s everchanging work assignments, first in his mother’s home country of Swaziland, then in both capitol and countryside of Mozambique.

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Jan
12

Volodymyr partners with MEDA to ensure his beehives survive and his business thrives

Volodymyr

 

For three years, the Ukrainian beekeepers have been actively testing chlorella algae, which is used as feed for bees. This year, with support from the Ukraine Horticulture Business Development Project (UHBDP), Volodymyr has dared to make a fantastic experiment at his apiary – to combine chlorella with honey.

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Dec
10

How briquettes made from recycled agricultural waste could tackle air pollution and deforestation in northern Nigeria

NigeriaWAY clients learning how to make briquettes

 

The daily quest for firewood which serves as a major source of cooking fuel in many households in rural Nigeria has become a daunting and gruelling task. In Bauchi State, where MEDA runs their Nigeria WAY project the quest for cooking fuel has forced women to walk further to find resources, pay more for fuel, and risk being exposed to high levels of pollution.

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Dec
10

Women's giving group in Waterloo ensures women around the world have access to knowledge and opportunity

Nancy opening Women Empowering Women event

 

Simple good deeds can impact communities in amazing ways. In Waterloo Region, where MEDA’s head office is based, the community is coming together inspired by the giving spirit during the holiday season. Kindred Credit Union’s #12days4good campaign invites local communities to give back through simple good deeds for 12 consecutive days in December.

One doesn’t have to look too far to find do-gooders in the MEDA Waterloo community. Nancy Mann is a MEDA Waterloo Hub board member. Her past occupation as a pastor instilled in her a strong sense of giving back to her local and global community. Nancy is also the chair of MEDA’s Women Empowering Women (WEW) group in Waterloo – a women’s giving group that gathers quarterly to learn about MEDA’s women’s economic empowerment work, network with other like-minded career women, and give back.

MEDA’s Associate Development Office, Chris Brnjas “sat down” virtually with Nancy to discuss her involvement in WEW, her passion for empowering women both here in Waterloo and around the world, and why supporting women is incredibly important for our world.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Dec
09

Succeeding in the age of disruption

 Technology in international development in an age of disruption - Nicaragua

 

I liked this quote in a book I’m reading called Designing Delivery by Jeff Sussna:

"In order to succeed in the age of disruption, companies must change their basic approach. They need to shift their emphasis from perpetuating stability to disrupting themselves. Instead of excelling at doing the same things better, faster, and cheaper, they need to challenge themselves to continually do different things, and continually do them differently. They need to learn to value learning over success, and to value the ability to change direction over the ability to maintain course. In other words, they need to shift their core competency from efficiency to adaptability"

Disruption is the word for our times. Everything is disruption. Everyone is disrupted. Assumptions about the world and the future made easily at the beginning of 2020 are upended. New markets are emerging, and old ones are dying. New realities show us new problems to solve, and in that chaos lies opportunity.

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Nov
27

Lessons Learned: How to navigate reopening field operations in a COVID-19 world

PPE picture

 

Blog initially published on Humentum.

 

In September this year, Director of Global Security with MEDA Scott Ruddick, presented a Solution Session at OpEx365, our transformative year of virtual learning. The following blog provides an overview of the topic covered: transitioning field operations from lockdown to phased resumption based on MEDA's approach.

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March 2020, MEDA – like many INGOs – moved quickly in response. Staff overseas from their home location were brought back. All of our operations – both head office and field - shifted to remote work/work from home protocols. We closed our offices, stopped all but the most essential of field activity, and required staff to work virtually.

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Nov
26

The shadow pandemic: MEDA's response to the rise of gender-based violence in our programming

16days action #OrangeTheWorld graphic

 

Sexual abuse. Human trafficking. Domestic violence. Rape. Harassment. Female genital mutilation.

Even the words feel violent. And yet, they are reality for over a billion people around the world. If this number is too hard to wrap your mind around, consider the fact that one in three women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. In a recent survey, nearly three in four women had experienced sexual harassment in the previous month. Almost half of these women were under the age of 18, and 11% were under the age of 10.

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Nov
18

Global GIS Day: How MEDA is utilizing mapping data

Woman in Myanmar in her field

 

When you use Google Maps, you can see streets, buildings, vegetation, and elevation. But how is this data captured? This data is captured by a computer system called a geographic information system (GIS).

This program is a tool used to comprehend the world geography. GIS is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data. This allows people to easily visualize, analyze, and understand patterns and create relationships between different data sets.

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Oct
29

Top 10 Reasons to attend our annual MEDA Convention

MEDA Convention

 

This year is an unprecedented year for MEDA. For the first time ever, we are hosting our 2020 MEDA Convention virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Oct
06

Women entrepreneurs in Jordan make compost to produce positive environmental and socio-economic outcomes

Hands holding compost

 

Composting of organic waste, including farm residues is a needed waste management solution in Jordan, and presents an opportunity to produce positive environmental and socio-economic outcomes.

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Sep
29

Changing constraining gender norms in northern Nigeria

GALS training in northern Nigeria

 

In Bauchi state, northeastern Nigeria, some businesswomen operate their small businesses in an environment where social and gender norms value domestic and care work for women over business activities.

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Sep
23

Impacts of COVID-19 on women and youth at MEDA: Learning from our projects

Woman entrepreneur in Jordan #GenderEqualityWeek

 

There is a threat to the gains made on furthering gender equality around the world - the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

We have written about the global consequences of the novel coronavirus on communities experiencing oppression where the socio-economic effects have laid bare the fissures in our social safety nets and market systems, but have since taken the opportunity to learn more about the localized effects on gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) in MEDA’s programming.

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Sep
21

Measuring impact: How MEDA measures progress on gender equality within households

Gender Equality Week Jordan

 

MEDA’s Jordan Valley Links (JVL) project has been using Gender Progress Markers (GPMs) as a measurement tool, supplementing its other monitoring and evaluation techniques, to thoughtfully and deliberately observe the changes in social and gender dynamics affecting women and men in their families and local communities. These markers help us move beyond numbers and quantitative data; they let us look at how attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors related to gender progress changes over the life of a project.

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