Youth Impact: Interns Driving Positive Change at MEDA 

Above: MEDA Interns with Dorothy Nyambi, CEO of MEDA, and Bardish Chagger, Member of Parliament for Waterloo Region.

Around the world, youth unemployment remains a pressing concern, with millions of young individuals unable to access the job market. The implications are profound, leading to increased poverty and economic instability. However, amid these challenges, young people are actively seeking opportunities to shape their careers and make a difference. MEDA, with its commitment to reducing poverty globally, recognizes the potential of youth and the unique contributions they can offer. 

At MEDA, interns play a vital role in driving meaningful change within the organization and the communities we serve. The MEDA summer internship program is generously funded by the Canada Summer Jobs program, providing young students opportunities to gain work experience to further their professional careers. We spoke to several remarkable interns who shared their experiences, insights, and the impact they’ve had during their time at MEDA. 

Making a Tangible Impact

Noémie and Arisha share their experiences, highlighting the tangible impact they’ve made through their work at MEDA. Their contributions extend beyond the organization itself, affecting the communities and projects they’ve been involved in. 

“My work at MEDA has been to develop an impact management and measurement framework for MEDA’s financial investments in projects. I felt that my work will definitely have a great impact in MEDA’s work going forward and ensuring it is achieving impact that matters for stakeholders.” 

Noémie, Social Finance Analyst

“As an intern at MEDA I believe there is a lot of knowledge that is shared between the interns and the staff through the work that is done. As interns, we often bring new ideas to the table and one of the ways this is done is speaking about different resources or software we use that can allow for easier presentation of data.” 

Arisha, Environment & Climate Change Intern

Fostering Innovation and Collaboration

Innovation and collaboration are key drivers of progress. MEDA encourages and supports innovative ideas and perspectives from its young interns, and how these contributions influence project outcomes. 

“Having minored in social entrepreneurship, I have always wanted to use my love for business and finance to help others. MEDA has provided me with the outlet to do so. During my time at MEDA, they have opened the floor for interns to share their ideas and perspectives. When working on projects I have been involved in, MEDA’s openness has provided me with a sense of pride and motivation knowing how many people MEDA has and is helping while changing lives.” 

Melanie, Knowledge Management Intern

Contributing to Organizational Impact

Interns play a role in advancing MEDA’s mission and vision. Here are specific projects and initiatives interns have been involved in and how these efforts contribute to MEDA’s overall impact. 

“I was tasked with developing the Impact Management and Measurement Framework to integrate impact considerations in every step of the investment process at MEDA, manage and monitor impact after investments were made, and measure overall impact afterward. This will have a great impact on MEDA’s ability to monitor, adjust, and measure its impact on stakeholders.” 

Noémie, Social Finance Analyst

“One specific project that I was involved in was the three-day ECC 2023 Conference in which I took part in presenting as well as taking notes on each of the presentations both by internal MEDA staff as well as external presenters… These efforts can help MEDA staff to see the benefits of these conferences and the ways in which MEDA continues to grow and create meaningful contributions through providing innovative resources to SME’s as well as women and youth.” 

Arisha, Environment & Climate Change Intern

Aligning with MEDA’s Mission

Understanding and aligning with an organization’s mission is crucial for young interns. We see how the interns’ understanding of MEDA’s mission has evolved during their internships and how they see themselves aligning with MEDA’s goals and their own personal values. 

“Having an understanding of the basic purpose of the organization has a great positive effect on me because it motivates me to further contribute to MEDA’s mission of reducing poverty around the world!” 

Oscar, Corporate Administration Intern

“When I first started at MEDA, I had the understanding that MEDA creates business solutions to poverty. Being in the IKM team I have been able to see the impact we have had on participants in our programs. Knowing the amazing work that MEDA has done provides me with motivation and pride in the work I am doing at MEDA.” 

Melanie, Knowledge Management Intern

Learning and Growth

Internships offer valuable learning opportunities. The new skills and knowledge interns have gained during their time at MEDA, focusing on areas such as international development, sustainable agriculture, and financial inclusion is invaluable. 

“My internship at MEDA has enhanced my understanding of many different aspects of accounting, and of the crucial differences between for- and not-for-profit accounting… It’s been an incredible learning experience!” 

Alissa, Corporate Finance Intern

The Power of Youth Engagement

Engaging youth is essential for driving positive change within the field of international development. Interns have gained insights about the importance of youth engagement and its potential to create positive change while working with MEDA.  

“During my time at MEDA, there were several significant principles that I learned in relation to the importance of youth engagement… Personally, working with MEDA I recognized the level of positive impact my work had in international countries. It was uplifting to acknowledge that youth my age have the ability and capacity to create positive changes in the world.” 

Cathy, Graphic Design Intern

The Best Part About Working at MEDA

For young interns, working at MEDA and in the international development field is the opportunity to make a meaningful impact. They appreciate the supportive culture, the chance to apply their knowledge, and the inspiring projects that MEDA undertakes. The work at MEDA challenges them and aligns with their personal values. 

MEDA values the contributions of its interns and recognizes the potential of youth to drive positive change in the world. Through their innovative ideas, dedication, and alignment with MEDA’s mission, these young individuals are leaving a lasting impact on both the organization and the communities we serve. Youth engagement remains a cornerstone of MEDA’s commitment to reducing poverty and creating sustainable change worldwide. 

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  • MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates)

    MEDA is an international economic development organization that creates business solutions to poverty. We work in agri-food market systems, focusing primarily on women and youth in rural communities in the Global South. Our success is measured by income, improved processes, increased knowledge, and the creation of decent work.

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