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Gender Equality and COVID19


The scale and scope of COVID19 have caused changes that were unimaginable only months ago. Entire global systems have shifted.

But even as organizations, governments and businesses have responded, there is another threat: the threat that the needs of excluded populations will be disregarded once again and the gains we have made in fostering an equitable world will be unraveled.

We stand with partners and our clients - the women and men who run businesses around the world. We are committed to maintaining our market-based approach to creating inclusive economic opportunities with the firm belief that this will create lasting and sustainable change. That is why we are reinforcing our commitment to 10 key principles to keep us on track:


Canadas global response 1


OTTAWA, ON – April 6, 2020 – On behalf of over 180 organizations, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) and four partner coalitions presented an open letter to the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, calling for international cooperation to be a part of Canada’s COVID-19 response. 

“To keep Canadians safe, we need to address and eliminate the disease wherever it is in the world,” said Nicolas Moyer, CEO of CCIC. “By lending our expertise and support to communities around the world, we can defeat COVID-19.”  

CCIC applauds the Government of Canada’s commitment to global engagement and cooperation to address the pandemic, including the allocation of $159.5M through Canada’s International Assistance Envelope. The open letter proposes further measures to help Canada’s fight against the global pandemic through an increase of Canadian Aid and the fast-tracking of funding renewals for multi-year international programs, among other proposals.  

The international development sector includes over 2,000 organizations, employs some 14,000 Canadians on a full-time basis, and invests over $5 billion annually to support global sustainable development and humanitarian assistance. Like all sectors of the Canadian economy, Canadian aid organizations are coping with the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, while also working hard to ensure critical front-line services continue for the most vulnerable populations around the globe. CCIC and its members look forward to continuing to work with the federal government to support global efforts to address and contain COVID-19. 

The open letter was sent in collaboration with the Canadian Association of International Development Professionals (CAIDP), the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH), the Climate Action Network (CAN-Rac) and the Inter-Council Network (ICN). 


About the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC):   

The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) is Canada’s national association representing international development and humanitarian organizations. Together with our member organizations, CCIC seeks to end global poverty and to promote social justice and human dignity for all. CCIC is committed to making this goal a public priority and to encouraging the actions necessary to make a poverty-free world a reality.   


Media Contact:  

Kat Guerin, Communications Manager  
Phone: 613-222-3009   

This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review.

COVID-19 physical distancing ended up helping a mother and daughter share about their Mennonite Economic Development Associates trip to Ukraine with more people than they would have reached otherwise.

The presentation about Ana - baptist heritage and current economic development in Ukraine is one of several web inars MEDA has held in recent months, allowing supporters to hear updates and pose questions about business solutions to pov erty in Ghana, Kenya, Nicaragua and Jordan.

On March 23rd, Dr. Dorothy Nyambi sent the following message to all MEDA supporters about the COVID-19 outbreak:


Dear Supporters,

Greetings from Waterloo! Across the world, people are facing circumstances they have never encountered before. The COVID-19 pandemic has evolved with incredible speed and is demanding very rapid action from all of us.

The full extent of this crisis is not yet known. What is known, and what I am thankful for, is that in times of crisis we can depend on each other to find a way out. I know this because over my past year and a half at MEDA I have borne witness to the generosity of so many in this world. From our institutional partners, to the clients and businesses we work with, to you, our supporters. I know that in times of crisis, community bands together to support and encourage one another. I know that the same will happen here.

We are grateful for a wise and level-headed Security Management Team that, since January, has been providing regular informative updates to our staff as the situation developed. Once the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, we put “Work from Home” protocols in place for all our staff. Country field offices are making decisions for their staff teams depending on local situations.

For our partners and clients, we stand together in this through our shared mission of business solutions to poverty. In these challenging times, we are all aligned, and the priority is health and safety.

The effects of COVID-19 are multifaced and still unfolding. We expect that business across the globe will be affected and we will continue together, to learn and adapt as needed. Challenges always create opportunity for innovation, and we will continue to collaborate to find new and cost-effective ways to improve our work, advance our goal and find the best solutions to improve our impact.

In the days ahead we ask that you keep our clients in your thoughts and prayers. There are so many around the globe who are not as fortunate as us, who were already facing the trials of poverty and who need our support more than ever. Like many of our small businesses in North America, they are also likely to experience a decrease in their revenue, and disruption to the very supply chains and markets that they are fighting to join. We know that technical training, advice, and access to financial services will continue to be vital.

For those who have been affected by the virus, and all the frontline workers, our thoughts are with you.

I look forward to staying connected with you in the coming weeks. In the interim, stay healthy, hold your family close and be grateful for the blessings that can be counted today.

Dr. Dorothy Nyambi

Dr. Dorothy Nyambi


Waterloo, ON, March 13, 2020 -- The safety and health of our staff and partners is our top priority. MEDA has been closely monitoring the global response to the COVID-19 outbreak, with regular risk assessments and tiered response plans. As the situation has rapidly evolved our Security Management Committee has recommended the following: MEDA will adopt a work from home preferred (WFH-P) protocol for North American offices and a work from home optional (WFH-O) protocol for our country project offices.

Both of these protocols take effect March 16, 2020.

This is a challenging time and is unprecedented in our organizational history. But this is not the first crisis MEDA has faced, and it won’t be the last.

During times like this, the MEDA team is resilient and innovative. This is the right decision to protect the health and well-being of everyone at MEDA - and the wider communities we live in.

We have some excellent resources available for staff and their families, and we encourage staff to reach out to the Human Capital team for support and guidance for accessing resources, and for information about both MEDA and government provided leaves and sick days.

Event Cancelations:

  • MEDA Innovate has made the decision to cancel their upcoming event in Ottawa. Please read here for additional information.
  • Network Hubs are encouraged to consider local recommendations for canceling their events. If proceeding as planned, we advise following best practices for hand-washing and disinfecting.

We will continue to provide updates and further information as appropriate.


Dorothy Nyambi
President & CEO

#IDW2020 International Development Week Banner

Waterloo, ON, January 31, 2020 - In 2015, UN Member States set 17 goals to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This 15-year plan is a, “universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.”

These Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize that all countries – developed and developing – need to work together to act on strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, tackle climate change and invest in economic growth.

Waterloo, ON, January 30, 2020 – MEDA is pleased to announce the appointment of Orvie Bowman as Chief Financial and Investment Officer (CFIO). The CFIO is a member of MEDA’s Executive Leadership Team and provides strategic leadership to achieve MEDA’s financial, investment and legal goals.

Upon being offered the role with MEDA, Orvie expressed that he is, “honoured and thrilled to join the great team at MEDA” and that he is, “energized by MEDA’s mission and vision to create, sustain and innovate.”


Kathmandu, Nepal, January 17, 2020 - Finance Minister Yuvraj Khatiwada has said that inclusive investment is necessary for the development and prosperity of the country. In a program on 'mixed economy and gender friendly investment' organized by the Samriddhi Foundation on Monday, he suggested banks and financial institutions to increase investment in the domestic and medium enterprises.

NEI MEDA Partner

Kilimanjaro, Kenya, January 9, 2020 - As a company engaged in the production of premium flavouring ingredients, its high standards and eco-friendly methods have helped the products reach a global network, according to a press release issued by the company.

Today it is delivered to specialty manufacturers, gourmet restaurants and home chefs in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. This includes its main product line – vanilla pods and extracts.

HRH Princess Basma visits MEDAHRH Princess Basma attends a ceremony on Thursday at the Zaha Cultural Centre highlighting Jordan Valley Links, an enterprise development project that supports 25,000 entrepreneurial women and youth in the Jordan Valley (Petra photo)

Amman, Jordan, December 7, 2019: HRH Princess Basma on Thursday commended the achievements made by Jordan Valley Links, an enterprise development project for women and youth in the Jordan Valley, in its work that focuses on food processing, community tourism and the use of clean technologies. 

During a ceremony held at the Zaha Cultural Centre, Princess Basma drew attention to the importance of the project, which targets women and youth, highlighting Jordanian women’s capabilities and the potential they can reach with support, empowerment and training, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

MEDA Convention 2019 Photo

Taking the Leap was the focus of MEDA’s 2019 Business as a Calling convention in Tucson, Arizona.
The four-day event featured stories from pastors, entrepreneurs, MEDA clients and start-up companies.
Pastor and author Tim Dearborn encouraged attendees to view their work in business as a spiritual calling, recognizing that profit is a means rather than an end.

Dr. Dorothy Nyambi speaks in Lancaster PA

Lancaster, PA, September 21, 2019: Ask Dr. Dorothy Nyambi why she left the medical field to become CEO of Mennonite Economic Development Associates, and she offers a simple, yet understandable, analogy.

Picture of Nancy Mann talking to crowd of women empowering women attendees

The Waterloo Region chapter of Women Empowering Women (WEW) meets quarterly to nurture connections and friendships, to be inspired and to raise funds that support women in developing economies. As an auxiliary group of Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), it supports MEDA’s international work of “helping women move into more valued and equitable roles in their economies.”