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May
21

Gender equality and social inclusion in a COVID-19 world

COVID and Gender Equality

 

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds around the world at varying speeds and levels of intensity, one thing has become clear - the socio-economic effects are felt very differently by women and men, and by minority and excluded populations.

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May
12

Moving to a Green Economy: This crisis can prepare us for the next

 GreenEconomy

 

As the world shifts from the adrenalized shock of shutdown to a more measured management of this terrible respiratory threat, the economic forecast is bleak. In some places, especially in Africa and Latin America, the forecast is not yet clear, but upheaval is certain. COVID-19 has imploded financial markets and unemployment has sky-rocketed. What could a post-virus world look like? 

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May
12

How to better serve smallholders: Key learning from INNOVATE's 3-year initiative on non-traditional finance for agriculture

wrr innovate

This blog is co-written by Kyla Levin-Russell (Senior Specialist, MarketShare Associates) and Clara Yoon (Project Manager, MEDA). The quotes from the online learning event were edited or condensed for clarity.

Four years ago, MEDA set out to address the research question, “which financial services can catalyze change among smallholder farmers?” Through a series of regional roundtable events and consultations with agricultural finance experts, a research opportunity emerged:

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May
06

Ukrainian clients pivot in response to COVID-19

Ukraine clients

 

Changes in the global business climate, affect all business no matter the place, size or industry. Although many businesses try to prepare for a variety of potential economic shocks, being prepared for a global pandemic was something that few businesses both large and small saw as necessary.

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May
06

In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity

IMG 20200501 134734 01

 

J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Balancing our work and our personal life is not an easy task, but we never stop pursuing it. Work, life, family, and responsibilities are still a priority. We always have something to do, places to go, bills to pay, dishes to wash, clothes to fold, but when was the last time we stopped what we are doing to hit the pause button? While we are all working from home and still can’t escape most of our responsibilities, we see ourselves in an unprecedented situation.

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Apr
22

Earth Day 2020 - global climate action is possible

EarthDayCleanup MR

 

Every year on April 22, the world comes together to mark Earth Day – birthed from the early environmental movements of the 1970s. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and brings together over 1 billion individuals from across the world to advocate, mobilize and defend our Earth.

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Apr
21

The Critical Role of Security, MEDA Global

Security Training

Security at MEDA – always an important part of operations – has taken on an even more critical role as we navigate the COVID pandemic. Scott Ruddick, MEDA’s security director and the individual responsible for directing the security response to the pandemic, credits the project security focal points ( SFP) for helping to ensure staff safety.

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Apr
21

Want a different worldview? Take a look outside your window.

Rwanda

 

In 2019 I travelled to Rwanda to visit World Relief, MEDA’s partner through the INNOVATE project. World Relief works through associations of local churches to empower poor women and other underserved populations with financial, agricultural and other important livelihood skills.

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Apr
14

Helping businesses and farmers face the pandemic

FEATS5

 

As the novel coronavirus COVID-19 spreads around the globe, we all worry about the terrible impact the stealthy virus is wreaking upon the economy. MEDA’s work in market systems and supporting entrepreneurs around the world will help businesses weather the storm.

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Apr
14

Celebrating International Day of Rural Women in Ukraine

UHBDPblog

 

In rural Ukraine, women have less access to business training and networking opportunities. MEDA’s Ukrainian Horticulture Business Development Project (UHBDP) held a forum to celebrate International Day of Rural Women in Zaporizhya, Ukraine.

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Mar
03

Paying Electricity Bills makes Amjad’s Voice Heard: A Story from Ghour Al Safi

Jordan Valley Links training #EachForEqual

This is my third visit to Ghour Al Safi (South Jordan) to meet the women participating in the Gender Progress Markers (GPM) process (see previous blog on GPM). As in other districts of the Jordan Valley, Ghour Al Safi is an agricultural area in which women are usually working in their family’ farms and men are working either in agricultural careers or they join the military. Unlike the middle and the northern valleys, Ghour Al Safi is a very conservative area and the women there are facing different social and cultural barriers.  

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Feb
12

INNOVATE Interview: A farmer-centric bank in Nepal

INNOVATE Project Mr. Vijay Gurung and Mr. Govinda Raut from Muktinath Bank

Note: the interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Last month I had the opportunity to conduct a final round of partner visits in Bangladesh and Nepal as MEDA’s INNOVATE project is in its final months of implementation . It was eye-opening to visit farmers in rural Bangladesh who received and used a bank loan for the first time; and to hear diverse perspectives and challenges from financial institution partners in both Bangladesh and in Nepal.

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Jan
31

The MEDA Approach: Human Rights in Business

GhanaGROW

The international development industry’s understanding of human rights stems from a commitment to the fulfillment of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights; a seminal document for human rights policy and goal-setting established in 1948.

More recently, development actors have used the fundamentals as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to consider and express the dynamic relationship between duty-bears, right-holders and responsibility bearers.

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Dec
02

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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Dec
02

The MEDA Approach: Human Rights in Business

Ghana GROW farmerA woman from MEDA’s GROW project exercising her economic rights protected under 2 of the 9 core human rights instruments: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

The international development industry’s understanding of human rights stems from a commitment to the fulfillment of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights; a seminal document for human rights policy and goal-setting. More recently, development actors have used the fundamentals as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to consider and express the dynamic relationship between duty-bears, right-holders and responsibility bearers.

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Nov
26

Smallholders as Customers, Not Pupils: Making the Case for Good Agricultural Practices

Woman harvesting in her field - INNOVATE ProjectPhoto courtesy of Swathi Sridharan

Since the early 2000s, governments, commercial firms, NGOs and international organizations have expanded the market incentives for adhering to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), such as incorporating GAP certifications into supply chains and procurement decisions.


Practices addressing “environmental, economic and social sustainability for on-farm processes,” as the FAO defines, brought with them the promise of improved food safety, food quality and environmental stewardship.

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Oct
09

Want to invest in social change? There's a way to do that

Photo of MEDA-supported business owner in Tanzania
 
Impact investment approaches have become increasingly sophisticated, targeting very specific improvements, such as increased gender equality and environmental protection.  Gender lens investment, or GLI, can promote greater gender equality by increasing capital for women-run businesses and supporting enterprises that want to create more gender-equitable workplaces. Green finance can incentivize the adoption of energy efficient technologies or practices.
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Oct
04

Doubting your professional capabilities? Learn how a mentor can unlock your potential

Picture of Rylan Miller - MEDAx 2019 Committee Member
 

Think of a time when you were starting a new job. How did you feel?


Nervous?


Vulnerable?


Unsure of yourself?

Often, when we’re feeling this way – it’s essential to have someone a little more experienced to guide and encourage you.

For Rylan Miller, having that mentor was essential for his success as a young professional.
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Sep
25

Interview with a development worker: reflections on the impact of gender equality

Image of data points and graphs that is representative of how Carl monitors and measures MEDA

To mark Canada's second Gender Equality Week, MEDA is highlighting important issues and voices around women’s empowerment and gender equality in the area of economic development. This is the third installment of our #EveryoneBenefits blog series. This blog is an interview between MEDA Project Manager (Gender), Calais Caswell and Carl Asuncion - Program Manager (Monitoring and Impact Management) on how a gender equal world benefits everyone - including men and boys. This interview has been edited for clarity. 

At MEDA, we believe that achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and other marginalized individuals requires the support and active engagement of men and boys. This is because gender equality is not just about women and girls and gender diverse people, but about addressing and dismantling a social system (patriarchy) that is also oppressive to men, boys, and others that express a masculine identity

In our programming, we do this through our work with Men Gender Champions as well as other community-based social dialogue activities including working with community and business leaders as allies to influence positive change.

Within our MEDA offices we have many men allies that support and endorse the message that gender equality benefits everyone, including one who has volunteered to chat with us today!

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Sep
25

The reality of sexual harassment in the workplace: a reflection on Women Deliver 2019

White woman protesting with sign that says,

To mark Canada's second Gender Equality Week, MEDA is highlighting important issues and voices around women’s empowerment and gender equality in the area of economic development. This is the second installment of our #EveryoneBenefits blog series. This blog is written by MEDA Project Coordinator, Allison Nafziger on the reality of sexual harassment in the workplace and what MEDA's doing to ensure its staff and clients are trained and protected.

In June I attended Women Deliver 2019. Heralded as “the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women,” this conference had a lot to say about the theme of sexual harassment and gender-based violence.

The #metoo movement incited an important conversation about sexual harassment in different areas of society; from street-level harassment to board rooms. However, consensus among the general public about what sexual harassment is, how prevalent it is, who it impacts and, perhaps most importantly, what institutions can do about it has not been discussed. This is a lost opportunity.

In this blog, I’d like to explore these questions, drawing on discussions at Women Deliver as well as MEDA’s work in the area of gender equality and social inclusion.

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