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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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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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Jun
27

Experimentation in smallholder agriculture: A key takeaway from ‘lean impact for Ag’

 INNOVATE

How can we leverage learning and experimentation to better design agricultural innovations for smallholders? A ‘lean approach’ to testing and learning from pilots, demos, and other experimental methods can help validate assumptions with potential users before committing to costly interventions with low adoption or unintended consequences.

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May
27

Putting technology into the hands of women

GROW Ghana

Women in northern Ghana have limited access to agricultural technology and are forced to do most of their farming activities manually, from clearing land to planting, harvesting and processing. This limits their agricultural productivity in multiple ways. Women can only cultivate as much land as they can clear, and since they rarely have title deed to the property, they are frequently forced to move to new plots of land every few years, as their now-improved fields are taken over by male farmers. Traditional planting, scattering seeds by hand, results in low yields, and manual harvesting and processing results in products of inferior quality, which fetch lower prices at market. In addition, farming manually is extremely time- and labour-intensive.

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May
13

MEDA’s Karen Walsh talks about food security in Ghana

Ghana GROW Learning

Empowering women soybean farmers to improve food security and nutrition in Ghana

What’s high in protein, fiber and other essential nutrients? Would you have guessed the humble soybean?

This adaptable legume can be used in anything from tofu to soy flour. Due to its many uses and nutritional value, this legume is paramount to food security around the world. Northern Ghana is no exception.

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Jan
02

Supporting Your Local Staff with Their Next Challenge

training in Ghana with EQWIP3Tindana, an EQWiP Hub Training Coordinator explaining how to write a professional CV and cover letter at the Wa GROW office

“Today was a really good day.” Those were my exact thoughts while I left the MEDA office on a sunny Wednesday in September after we had finished an afternoon-long training on interview skills facilitated by a team of local trainers from EQWiP Hub Ghana (Educational Quality Work Improvement Program). The Tamale EQWiP Hub is one of 18 dynamic youth innovation spaces located around the world. These spaces connect youth – where they are – with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace and to innovate entrepreneurial ideas.

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Dec
24

GROW Intern Spotlight: Farida Latif

intern farida2

At MEDA's GROW (Greater Rural Opportunities for Women) project office in Tamale, Ghana, we understand the importance of practical teaching opportunities, which is why both the Tamale and Wa GROW offices host local interns throughout the year. Since January of 2018, the Tamale GROW office has had the pleasure of hosting a Monitoring & Evaluation intern, Farida Latif. Farida is a student completing a post graduate diploma in Community Development. As part of her curriculum at the Trent-In-Ghana Program offered at the University of Cape Coast, Farida was required to complete a 3-month mandatory internship with a non-government organization. Farida had a list of a dozen organizations to choose from and decided to apply to three organizations in the Northern Region. The two organizations she heard back from were MEDA and CARE International. She decided to proceed with the opportunity at MEDA.

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Nov
20

Bringing Rural Cooking to the City

soykit1
GROW women farmers had until Tuesday July 31 of this year to purchase new technology from the GROW technology fund. This fund gives them access to purchase machinery and supplies which will make them more effective, efficient and safe farmers at an affordable price. Some of the inventory they have been able to choose from were:

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Oct
16

Life Transformation: The Journey of a Sales Agent

GhanaFlag

To mark World Food Day (October 16, 2018), MEDA is sharing impact stories collected from our projects in the field. These stories highlight how MEDA is addressing food security in the area of economic development.

Damata is a one of GROW’s Lead Farmers. She is widowed with seven children. Following the death of her husband, Damata wanted her children to continue to attend school, despite the pressures of being the family’s sole provider and caregiver. “My children’s education is my business,” she stated.

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Sep
28

Why economic empowerment creates a world where #EveryoneBenefits

Afghanistan

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 fourth installment of our #EveryoneBenefits blog series. Learn why leadership opportunities creates a world where #EveryoneBenefits. 

Women make up 43% of the agricultural workforce around the world. Although women make an essential contribution to agriculture, they lack the same resources as men. This limits their ability to provide for their families and contribute to the global economy. 

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, “If women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30%, raising the total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5-4%. Such an increase in food production could lift 150 million people out of hunger.” This means that 150 million people are hungry simply because women are not included in food production or the global economy. 

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Jul
18

Continuing the Discussion: GROW Works with Regional House of Chiefs to Promote Women’s Access to Land in Ghana

GROW land eventMeeting with the Regional House of ChiefsOn Monday July 9th, the GROW project supported the Regional House of Chiefs of the Upper West Region in conducting a Land Tenure Advocacy Meeting hosted by the House of Chiefs. As a GROW staff member, I witnessed firsthand the momentous occasion of 26 Chiefs and 25 Queen Mothers coming together on a Monday morning specifically to discuss increasing land rights in the Upper West region.

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May
31

Saving for Good: Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) on the GROW Project

VSLAThe perception that microfinance is improving the lives of low income families has been a hot topic among development professionals for the last decade. There are many debates and arguments in the media about whether microfinance has positive or negative impacts on the livelihoods of economically disadvantaged communities. There is no one right answer to this question. It all depends on the institution’s mission and purpose. In fact, there are various financial services providers who have been part of the movement for all these years, some for social reasons some for profit.
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May
07

Building peace through entrepreneurship

Soy flower

There are more similarities between farming and selling books than you might think.

Entrepreneurs all over the world are providing for their families and communities as they design, launch and run their businesses. With dedication and passion for their work, they build capacity, instill agency and create a robust economy.

This happens all over the world every day.

 

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Mar
14

Discussing gender equality with families and communities: MEDA’s Male Gender Activists

Ghana, women empowerment

To mark International Women’s Day 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 third in our “Press for Progress” blog series celebrating the power of women entrepreneurs and their partners around the world.

Globally, gender inequality remains one of the fundamental challenges of the 21st century. Despite awareness about the importance of women empowerment growing globally, women are still economically, socially and politically routinely disenfranchised. Even though women often become the main or sole supporter of their households, men continue to dominate decisions at the household level which has caused increased poverty and lack of independence for women.

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Mar
08

#TimeisNow but GROW has been working for years

To mark International Women’s Day 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 first in our “Press for Progress” blog series celebrating the power of women entrepreneurs and their partners around the world.

IWD1GROW client, Rahama, selling her soya kebabs to MEDA staff

It is an exciting time for women around the globe with awareness of women’s rights activism on the rise through movements like #TimesUp and #MeToo bringing attention to overlooked harassment and treatment of women in the workplace. Additionally, it is an especially exciting time for rural Ghanaian women partaking in MEDA’s GROW program. Considering the United Nation’s International Women's Day (8 March) theme “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women's lives”, MEDA’s Greater Rural Opportunities for Women project (GROW) has been doing just that in the Upper Western Region of Ghana.

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Oct
17

Interview with a development worker: GROW's Karen Walsh

GROWwebsite

Katie West: Let’s start with something easy. What is GROW?

Karen Walsh: GROW is a food security program that is looking at changing the lives of over 20,000 women and their families. The goal is to provide consistent access to food throughout the year – in every season.

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Mar
01

An Easy Sell? Women's Economic Empowerment in Ghana

DSC04949

Empowering women in rural, northern Ghana—where nearly 80% of women have never attended school, is no small feat. With some smart marketing and production support for farmers, agribusinesses are now buying the idea.

Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) is a six-year project funded by both the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) and Global Affairs Canada (GAC). The main goal of the project is to improve food security for families in the Upper West Region of Ghana by assisting women farmers to increase productivity, link to sustainable markets, and improve nutrition practices.

The implementation of the GROW project started in 2013 with a goal of reaching 20,000 women farmers using a value chain approach. Through a mixed methods data gathering approach including interviews and surveys, MEDA recently developed and published a case study that examines the role of market actors and their profitability as they have engaged with the GROW project and female farmers. This blog shares some of the results.

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Feb
14

What does International Women’s Day mean to me?

Through the Garden Gate Afghanistan
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 third in our “Be Bold for Change” blog series celebrating the power of women entrepreneurs and their partners around the world.

Catherine Sobrevega (center) in Afghanistan, with her previous MEDA’s project, Through the Garden Gate, in Afghanistan.

I always look forward to International Women’s Day (IWD) as it is celebrated differently in form and structure worldwide. In the Philippines, where I am from, I cannot remember any celebration that I have been part of. I am sure there is an IWD celebration somewhere, but it is mostly celebrated by women’s right activist groups — not by ordinary people or companies. This is likely because men and women treat one another equally. I grew up knowing that there is no difference between us – all of us can go to school, all of us have access to information and opportunities.

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Feb
03

An intern's journey home in Ghana

Learning the ropes to get around the capital Accra has been an interesting and rewarding experience. In a city that only recently started naming its streets, the locals still rely on landmarks, prominent buildings, and well-known spots. There’s something very rewarding about learning the name of an area, like you’re finally getting to know the city and the people. More importantly, it lets you communicate with the taxis and tro-tros.

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Feb
03

How one small business can change the lives of many

As the Business Development Intern on the FEATS project in Ghana, I had the opportunity to help an entrepreneur start a cashew aggregation business that will improve the lives of 250+ farmers and the lives of their families and communities. I supported this entrepreneur by developing the business strategy and operational plan to successfully and sustainably start his small business. In the process, I have learned a lot about the farming value chain and the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and farmers in a developing country like Ghana.

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