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Farah is responsible for promoting increased financial access, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for young women and men around the world. She currently manages the financial inclusion component of the Global Affairs Canada funded Nigeria YouLead Project, which is led by CUSO. The project began in 2014 and will run for five years. She also oversees the Jordan Valley Links project which focuses on women and youth entrepreneurs and will run until 2021.
Jun
26

Sharing the joy of composting: Earth Day at the Canadian Embassy in Jordan

Jordan Valley Links staffAnwar, the author, Anwar’s daughter, and Eithar (Access to Finance Specialist) at the event

The Jordan Valley Links (JVL) 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 access to finance, food processing; community-based tourism, and clean technologies, ensuring all these sectors strive for environmentally sustainability and gender-responsive practices.

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Oct
29

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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Jun
11

Small Grants to Kick-start Youth-led Businesses in Nigeria: The Youth Entrepreneurship Business Support Plan (YEBSP)

cycle1granteesGrantees of the YEBSP 1st Cycle
Since 2014, 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.

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Feb
13

Financial Inclusion for Young Women – Voices from YouLead Nigeria


Mark Akpan Program Manager Financial Inclusion
Financial Decisions by Gender
Asset ownership by gender
To mark International Women’s Day 2017, 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 in our “Be Bold for Change” blog series celebrating the power of women entrepreneurs and their partners around the world.

How do you effectively reach a majority of people to discuss financial inclusion in Nigeria? Mark Akpan, Program Manager Financial Inclusion

Radio is the main source of news and information in Cross Rivers State, Nigeria. During my January 2017 visit to the YouLead project, implemented with Cuso International, Mark Akpan and I had the opportunity to visit Hit FM Cross River State to talk about Access to Finance for youth. We shared our understanding and approach towards addressing gender inequalities in this sector.

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Nov
24

Empowering Women and Girls through Sport


Jordan Games4
Jordan Games1
Jordan Games3
Jordan Games2

FIFA’s U-17 Women’s World Cup was held in Jordan this past October. For the first time ever, these games were held in the Middle East and in a country that is currently surrounded by other nations experiencing much conflict and instability. In fact, the stadium in Irbid is mere miles away from the Syrian border and residents can often hear the sounds of bombs and artillery fire from across the border. I happened to have the good fortune to be in Jordan for the games and witness how young women footballers are regarded in a traditionally conservative part of the world. The experience was very emotional for me for a number of reasons.

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Aug
24

A Business Plan Competition for Young Entrepreneurs – YouLead’s Youth Entrepreneurship Business Support Plan

YEBSP Blog
Fishery Start-Up: Ellah Friday in front of his two earthen ponds
Lilian Wayas of Obudu, stands in front of her two plots of land. Her start-up business is called ‘LilyBest Casava’

MEDA is currently partnering with Cuso International in Nigeria on the Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Access and Development (YouLead) project. The Youth Entrepreneurship Business Support Plan (YEBSP) is one of the many activities aimed at improving access to finance for young entrepreneurs. The YEBSP has been designed and administered as a business plan competition for youth, between the ages of 18-35, who have completed or are currently enrolled in YouLead’s entrepreneurship training program. The YEBSP is meant to kick-start youth-led businesses in the natural resources sector with funds ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 naira (approximately CAD$400 -$1200).

The first and pilot phase of the YEBSP was launched in April 2016 and the results were recently announced on August 9, 2016 [1], after a long process of selection and verification.

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Jan
07

E-FACE comes to an end: The closing of a fantastic project

EFACE Farah1
EFACE Farah2

I had the privilege of working on the E-FACE (Ethiopians Fighting Against Child Exploitation) project during its last year of implementation, during which time I was able to research and consolidate information on the project and how it worked with youth in Ethiopia. The project worked with both youth and adults to address the issue of exploitative labour.

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Dec
24

Youth Agricultural Sales Agents: Building Youth Entrepreneurship in Rural Areas

This blog shares a summary of the findings and lessons from the E-FACE project’s pilot intervention to build youth entrepreneurship among rural communities in Gamo Gofa and Wolaita districts in Southern Ethiopia. The full case study can be found on MEDA’s YEO website.

The Youth Agricultural Sales Agent (YASA) program provided 250 young people (138 male, 112 female), aged 14 to 17 years, with business skills training to increase their knowledge of markets, as well as life skills training to improve their confidence and communication. The technical and entrepreneurial skills provided by the training program were complemented with start-up kits to transition the youth from exploitative labor to productive work.

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Jul
27

Improving Workplaces and Working Conditions for Young Employees

working conditions eface diagram

This blog is a follow-up to one posted on 13 January 2015 titled “One Workplace At A Time” by Shaunet Lewinson featuring the E-FACE project.


The Ethiopians Fighting Against Child Exploitation (E-FACE) implements various livelihood strengthening interventions that tackle the issue of child exploitation due to reduced livelihoods. E-FACE targets households at-risk of or engaged in the worst forms of child labor in the Ethiopian textile and agriculture sectors, as well as young workers under the age of 18. One E-FACE intervention focuses on improving workspaces and working conditions for young workers using a three-component system that places young workers rights and safety at the forefront, while creating a participatory environment for both the young employees and their employers to get involved in the development of a safe workplace. The diagram below provides an overview of the 3 components (also referenced in previous blog).

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May
05

Youth Savings Association: Not Just About Developing A Savings Culture

VSAY Group in Addis
VSAY Group in Addis 1

Research1 has shown that benefits from savings groups can go beyond asset building and savings for youth, and provide working youth with their own solidarity groups in which they find peer support and social security. They can also expose youth members to other financial service concepts, such as borrowing, banking, and income generating activities, which are taught through orientations and workshops. This blog seeks to further strengthen existing research on youth savings by showcasing MEDA's project titled Ethiopians Fighting Against Child Exploitation (E-FACE).

Village Savings Associations for Youth (VSAYs) are one aspect of a multi-pronged approach to supporting Ethiopian youth in the E-FACE project. MEDA's youth team recently undertook a visit to Addis Ababa to explore savings behavior among youth, including changes in their livelihoods, behaviors and working environment as a result of their participation in savings groups. Field observations, interviews and focus group discussions with VSAY members and their parents revealed a number of important changes.

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Feb
09

Financial Inclusion for Nigerian Youth

MAP Nigeria Cross River
CUSO Youth
CUSO

The start of something new, something based on MEDA's experiences in Morocco

MEDA recently launched its partnership with CUSO International to improve financial inclusion for youth in Nigeria. The project titled Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Access and Development (YouLead) will work with young women and men in Cross River State, Nigeria.

Nigeria is Africa's most populous country and the unemployment rate stands at approximately 20%, with youth unemployment at almost double this rate at 35%.

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