We’re sustainable. We believe the best way to help the poor is by developing local institutions and businesses that have, as their goal, becoming independent of North American help. In other words, we don’t want our projects to depend on perpetual handouts from us for survival. MEDA’s goal is to start projects, nurture them as programs and then “graduate” them to become independent businesses that no longer need us. Like proud parents, we take satisfaction in the growth and independent businesses in places like Ethiopia, Ukraine, Tanzania, Kenya, Nicaragua and many other countries.
We affirm the dignity and self-worth of people.
Aid can erode agency and promote dependency. By creating opportunities where people can support themselves, a sense of personal agency and ownership is restored. They aren’t getting handouts – they’re working to help themselves and support their families. They aren’t aid recipients – they are our clients. It’s a business relationship, not a relationship built on charity.
We promote justice. There are lots of aid organizations providing emergency assistance. But only a few address the serious need for people to gain access to financial services so they can manage their money and start or grow businesses. It is very difficult for poor people in the developing world to open a bank account, safely save money or get a loan from local banks. MEDA works with microfinance institutions to develop products that meet these needs, so people can buy new equipment, put a roof on their market stall, advertise or buy in bulk at wholesale prices. The result? Businesses grow, profits increase, new jobs are created, families are fed, children are educated and communities are enriched.
We’re transparent. Ask us about our successes and we will tell you . Ask us about our flaws and we will tell you those too. Nobody is perfect, and that includes us. But what we choose to do is learn from our mistakes and failures. In fact, we believe failure is essential to success. We never learn if we do not make mistakes. When we make mistakes, we gain knowledge that is irreplaceable and perseverance that is born from overcoming hardship. Then we don’t make that mistake again.
We emphasize results. Just like the businesses in North America, the programs we run must mind the bottom line. Good intentions aren’t good enough – they must demonstrate how they are making a difference. We call this a business-oriented approach to development.
We allow the experts to lead. Whether this is a farmer in a remote village in Ghana or an agricultural scientist, we believe the experts. Everyone is a leader and expert in their own field. Our projects would not be successful without the leadership and expertise of our clients, business partners and researchers. Everyone has valuable knowledge to contribute.
We believe in the power of women. MEDA has a long history of successfully integrating women and youth into markets. We’re known for our women-centric economic development approach, founded on respectful interaction with cultures and communities and rooted in thorough market research. Recognizing that women are frequently the major drivers of economic and social change at the community level, MEDA specifically designs projects that directly target women and the unique obstacles they face to greater economic inclusion.
We have over 60 years of experience. MEDA has been offering this business-oriented approach to development since 1953. Over the years we have learned many valuable lessons about the best ways to help people around the world. Today we share these learnings with our industry colleagues at conferences and through consultancies.
Your contribution is multiplied many times. Your gift multiples in impact seven times on average with other funding sources, including governments and foundations.
It’s a way to put your faith into action. By supporting MEDA, you are doing more than just giving money – you are becoming part of a mission to connect faith and work in a broken world.
Each year, generous MEDA supporters help to bring new hope, opportunity and economic well-being to millions of families living in poverty in dozens of countries around the world.
We are often asked why we do what we do. Our simple answer is that we are compelled by our faith to change lives and save lives by creatively reducing poverty through business.
We invite you to join us by becoming part of MEDA.