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Note from the Field, USAID (July 2005)
The majority of women in rural Pakistan are marginalized by poverty, home confinement, and geographic isolation. Although talented embroiderers, they face significant logistical and societal constraints to reaching high-value urban markets. MEDA and its Pakistani partner, the Entrepreneurship and Career Development Institute (ECDI), are assisting these women to improve their economic and social situations through sustainable assistance that targets all parts of the embroidered garments value chain.
Mary Morgan, Marco Aldana, Dianna Darsney, Celina Lee, Zukiswa Mandile, Alexandra Snelgrove, Sarah Ward. (October 2006). No. 16. The Seep Network.
‘Enterprise development’ has evolved from the upgrading of individual businesses to the advancement of entire industries. New approaches – value chain development, making markets work for the poor, and industry competitiveness – are based on holistic views of economic structures and systems. This change has resulted in an increased focus on macro-level issues such as enabling environments, trade agreements, and national associations. As a result, some contributors to the development field are questioning the relevance of programmes that target microenterprises. Although the impact goals of development initiatives remain focussed on the world’s poor, some argue that engagement at a higher level increases the potential for wealth creation for all. This paper presents the case of rural homebound women in Pakistan to illustrate that, although systemic analysis is essential to good programme design, projects that specifically target marginalized communities can produce significant results that would not be achievable through industry-level interventions alone.
Linda Jones, MEDA, and Perveen Shaikh, ECDI. Learning Paper, (June 2005) PLP Learning Paper, The SEEP Network.
Middlemen are not often seen as agents of change. After all, middlemen have come to be regarded as an exploitative force in the lives of poor producers, controlling production, paying unfair prices for labor or goods, and participating in fraudulent practices to maximize their own gains. This learning paper describes an alternative perspective that The Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) and the Enterprise and Career Development Institute (ECDI) in Pakistan have developed based on their work with poor women microentrepreneurs. The paper posits that that middlemen provide an essential service and have the potential to become active contributors to the development of more equitable value chains; MEDA and ECDI’s work has led them to see middlemen as often an essential component of a dynamic value chain who provide the critical link to markets and market information that can lift disadvantaged rural producers out of poverty.
From January – February 2014, an impact assessment of the MEDA Pakistan “Entrepreneurs” project was conducted by Innovative Development Strategies (IDS), an independent Pakistani consulting firm with the support of Management Systems International (MSI), USAID Pakistan’s program evaluation partner.
The impact assessment indicates that the project performed well against the Mission Strategic Framework and exceeded project targets. The impact assessment highlights the following key results:
NOTE: The full Impact Assessment report is included along with a short two page report that MEDA Pakistan team developed.