MEDA launches a new project in Kenya to provide crucial economic support for businesses

June 24th, 2022, Waterloo, ON – MEDA is pleased to announce the Leveraging Equality for Gender-Inclusive Economic Development (LEGEND) project in Kenya, funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada (GAC). Building on MEDA’s proven results in Kenya, the LEGEND project will apply Gender Lens Investing expertise to improve the economic prosperity of women, youth, and other underrepresented populations in the country’s aquaculture, horticulture, and poultry sectors.

While Kenya is one of the wealthier countries in Africa, high levels of inequality and poverty remain in rural areas and among women and youth. Small enterprises in rural Kenya face many barriers, including limited access to finance, land, and technical support. Women business owners face further obstacles and are less likely to receive financing than their male counterparts.

Supporting small businesses with the tools they need is key to bringing economic growth to Kenyan entrepreneurs and farmers. MEDA works with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and small entrepreneurs (SEs), especially women and youth, in the Lake Zone and Coast regions of Kenya.

Since LEGEND uses a Lead Firm (LF) approach (businesses that are “market makers”), it can enable LFs to invest in their business growth and market opportunities that strengthen the capacities of their business partners, such as suppliers, service providers, buyers, and customers.

MEDA will:

  • Provide matching grants to LFs in the horticulture, aquaculture, and poultry sectors. These funds will support initiatives benefiting LF, SEs, and SMEs within their supply chains.
  • Engage with women SMEs and SEs while integrating gender equality and promoting environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation.
  • Use a Gender Lens Investing (GLI) approach and direct investment capital to women/youth-led and inclusive businesses.
  • Support ecosystem development by promoting dialog and learning around GLI best practices.

Catherine Walker, Senior Manager, Global Programs, reaffirms the project’s value for Kenyan entrepreneurs and businesses.

“We know from experience that providing women and youth entrepreneurs with access to the right resources and finance they need can be transformational. Our implementation approach focuses on providing women and youth entrepreneurs with what they need to create agile and competitive businesses.

We’re pleased to support this project and look forward to seeing it grow to help uplift the lives of entrepreneurs, their families, and their communities.”

Catherine Walker, Senior Project Manager, Global Programs

MEDA is pleased to continue working in Kenya alongside GAC, local partners, and implementers to launch this new project. LEGEND will work towards achieving MEDA’s goal of creating and sustaining decent work by supporting entrepreneurs and farmers with the resources and finance to build thriving livelihoods and businesses.

Read more about MEDA’s work in Kenya or the LEGEND project.

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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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