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Aug
17

COVID-19: Moving From Response to Resilience

Farmer in Ethiopia #COVID19

 

As experts working in market systems for the past 65 years, we have witnessed shocks and stresses before, in countries like Nicaragua, Ukraine, Haiti, Pakistan, Yemen, and Libya. We have worked through environmental, economic, and social challenges such as conflicts, natural disasters, price volatility, political instability, and recessions.

But we have never faced such a disruptive, global market crisis as COVID-19.

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Aug
04

4 Things we can learn from the home of Africa's tallest mountain

International internship in Tanzania

 

No matter how much you prepare before beginning an international contract, it never seems to be enough for what life is truly like on the ground.

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Jul
29

Engaging Men: A key to equality and rights for women in rural Tanzania

Women in Tanzania

 

Moving the needle on equality and the rights of women in rural Tanzania requires a multi-faceted approach. Girls grow up watching (and helping) their mother conduct all household tasks, care for the children, and still find time to engage in farming or minor trade to support the family. Boys watch their fathers leave for the farm in the morning and return in the afternoon, often to sit and sip coffee or tea with their friends or sometimes head to the local bar.

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Jun
01

The way to scale impact? Working together.

GraceGrace Mvula harvesting cassava seed in her field.

 

For Africa’s Yellow-Billed Oxpecker, its sustained survival relies on the partnership it has with African mammals, such as giraffes and water buffalos. The relationship is mutually beneficial as the mammals’ skin does not become ridden with parasites and the birds have a steady source of food, the parasites.

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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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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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Aug
15

Measuring what matters in smallholder agriculture: Key takeaways from ‘Lean Impact for Ag’

INNOVATE project clients in Malawi

Why does measurement and the type of metrics we use matter? In a rapidly changing and complex world, we need to leverage data-driven insights to prove our approaches and programs create lasting impact for the clients we serve.

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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

Is 'gender' just a buzzword?

Gender and Tanzania

*Trigger warning - domestic violence*

The past few months I have had gender equality and women’s rights on my mind. As a proud feminist, this is not unusual for me, however, something has been gnawing at me recently. It began with International Women’s Day March 8th, and several corresponding events around the day. It is clear that gender equality is a hot topic for NGOs, government, businesses and society. For many, this seemingly elusive, yet ever present term ‘gender’ seems to pop up everywhere these days, to the chagrin and skepticism of some.

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Dec
03

Embracing the aches and pains: recruiting cassava seed entrepreneurs in Tanzania

PartnershipMeeting with prospective CSEs at the local government offices in Kisasa ward.

I’m now just over halfway through my internship na kazi imenimeza kabisa – and I’ve been completely engulfed by work - but trust me, I love it! No coffee runs for me!

In my internship, I have the privilege to witness how MEDA’s BEST Cassava project is changing lives for the better.

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Dec
03

Dream big - just ask Christina

ChristinaOne of Christina's employees designing a beaded pair of sandals.

We sat on a wooden bench in a small shop tucked in behind the bustling street of Bagamoya in Manzese, Dar es Salaam. We had walked past many similar shops to find her, being embraced by the sights and smells of leather sandals being made, street food, and the dusty roads typical of the Dar dry season.

Christina is a small entrepreneur (SE) who has been in the shoe-making business for the past nine months. Her entrepreneurial spirit, however, has been alive for much longer. She graciously shared her journey with us as we sat in her shop watching customers come and go and her fundis (which in Swahili means employees) make sandals across from us.

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Sep
19

Dar es Salaam – a city of hospitality & entrepreneurship

Tanzania - SSBVC project

Moving across the world to a new city has been both an overwhelming and rewarding experience. As I settle into a new routine and learn to navigate a new city, I reflect on the people and experiences I have had thus far.

Let’s just say, it’s been amazing!

I arrived in Dar late on a Wednesday evening. The next morning, I arrived at the office to meet staff and receive orientation and training on MEDA’s SSBVC project.

SSBVC stands for Strengthening Small Business Value Chains (Kuza Biashara Sawia) project. This project aims to contribute to Tanzania’s economic growth and increase job creation by sustainably improving the business performance of small, growing businesses (SGBs) and small entrepreneurs.

You may be asking, how is MEDA involved in this process?

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Sep
17

"I missed this energy. It was nice to be back."

TanBEST

The first month of my internship with MEDA has served as a great reminder of the vast contrasts the world contains.

In 2012, I immigrated from Kenya to Canada, and for the past six years, I have called Canada home. These years have been filled with wonderful experiences and I quickly became accustomed to the “Western lifestyle”.

Here in Mwanza, Tanzania I am reminded of my childhood. The atmosphere is very different than I am accustomed to – even as a child of Nairobi. The drive from the airport to my residence was a trip down memory lane as I watched the boda-bodas (motorcycles used to transport people and goods) weave through traffic. As I whizzed through Mwanza in the night, I saw street-sellers hawking their wares. I reflected on how entrepreneurship is interwoven into the very fabric of all societies around the world. The hustle of entrepreneurs in cities like Mwanza make the world turn.

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Aug
30

Let us introduce you to our new interns!

 InternsFrom left to right: Rameesha, Davies, Chrissy and Rilian

At MEDA, we believe in the next generation of development professionals. That's why we invest in their careers and help them to gain practical, hands-on international experience that compliments the skills they have learned through their education. 

Let us introduce you to these four amazing people!

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May
29

The Book Business: How to measure market performance?

Ethiopian girls reading

Confession time: sometimes I buy books on Amazon.

I like the convenience of it.

While there is nearly nothing as delightful as perusing the bookshop aisle, daily demands sometimes dictate a few taps on my phone over finding the nearest Chapters or independent bookstore.

What does this mean for the book business?

 

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Oct
17

#TravelBlog: Michael White roots out cassava

Websitepic


We arrived in Mwanza in the morning – my arrival in Dar es Salaam was the night before (and our departure from Dar was in the dark too).

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Sep
18

SSBVC: Let's Listen to Local Leaders

b2ap3_medium_Jackma2 MEDASometimes, you don’t have to recreate the wheel.

At MEDA, we do our best to partner with already functioning entities and systems. Why start from scratch when you don’t have to?Our Strengthening Small Business Value Chains (SSBVC) project in Tanzania is one such example. Before we began working in Tanzania, we saw the potential of existing lead firms and decided to support and strengthen the business systems that were already in place and demonstrating how they could improve supply chains.

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Aug
11

High Commission of Canada Visits GROW

bibeauedit1Ghana has emerged as one of Africa’s economic success stories, with steady economic growth in its agriculture and mining sectors.

Ghana and Canada have had a long and prosperous relationship, with Ghana being one of the first nations in Africa to establish diplomatic ties with Canada. 

On July 8, 2017, MEDA’s Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) project in Ghana was pleased to welcome the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Development and La Francophonie to view GROW and share information on the challenges faced by women and girls in remote northern areas of the country.

 

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May
25

Encouraging Findings from Katesh, Manyara

The small clinic in Katesh, Manyara is full of young mothers bedecked in brightly colored kitenges. While some have small children, all are here to learn more aboutmasava1 Vitamin A fortified oil, a product that improves eyesight and strengthens immunity. At the front of the room, clinic staff emphatically describe Vitamin A's health benefits, occasionally asking the audience questions to ensure the message is being heard. I remember to take the clinic's GPS coordinates. They will be helpful when I conduct a spatial analysis of all the retail shops and BCC activities in the area.

Behold the scene that unfolded before my eyes in Katesh, Manyara, one of MASAVA's two target regions in Tanzania. My visit to Katesh was part of a larger project to measure the effectiveness of behavioral change campaigns ("BCC") on oil sales. Previous research had showed that BCC campaigns were successful in raising greater awareness about the presence of Vitamin A fortified oil in the market. However, raising awareness about a product is one thing. The question that sparked my curiosity was if greater awareness inspired consumers to buy oil. I was in Katesh to interview attendees and find out.My findings were encouraging. Nearly all participants–young, old, man, woman—said they would buy Vitamin A fortified sunflower oil despite the higher cost.

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Mar
17

The Strengthening Small Business Value Chains (SSBVC) project has officially launched!

Although it has been two years since the project began operations Tanzania, on February 2nd MEDA organized and hosted the official launch event for the KUZA-BIASHARA-SAWIA project which was attended by dignitaries from both the Tanzanian and Canadian governments, private organizations, other NGOs, and a number of businesses currently involved in the SSBVC project.

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