Media Relations Policy

As an non-profit organization that seeks to help poor people improve their lives through the development of business, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) welcomes the opportunity to assist the media with stories that help to promote and advance understanding about business-oriented approaches to development in specific, and of international development programs in general.

At the same time, as a Christian organization, MEDA welcomes opportunities to assist the media in telling stories about how Christians in North America are motivated by their faith to help poor people in the developing world improve their lives economically, and about how Christians in business seek to “connect their faith and work in a needy world.”

In order to accomplish this, MEDA will seek to be responsive to the needs of the media and accurate in its communication. MEDA will also initiate coverage by contacting media outlets, sending press releases to the media and by occasionally inviting reporters to travel overseas to see MEDA projects.

The media that MEDA will work with include: Mennonite church publications; other church publications; and other non-church media outlets.

Because much of MEDA’s development activity occurs in the developing world, we request that all media contact the Media Relations office prior to visiting a MEDA project overseas. This enables us to prepare staff for the visit, since most of our staff are not from North America. This also allows us to provide reporters with background material and other assistance that can help make the visit as productive as possible.

When MEDA invites reporters to go to the developing world, we will assist with travel plans, visas, local accommodation, food and travel, schedule and other matters related to the trip.

MEDA’s annual convention is open to the media; reporters are asked to register for this event. Board meetings are also open to the media, provided a request to attend them is made prior to the meeting.

When reporting about our clients in the developing world and North America, MEDA will seek to portray them in a way that affirms their dignity; promotes their skills and abilities; and reveals them as active participants in efforts to improve their lives. MEDA will not use language or images that are designed to shock donors into giving money (i.e. “famine pornography” or “pornography of poverty”).

MEDA does not accept unsolicited freelance submissions of articles, photos or video for its publications or for dissemination to other media outlets. Proposals for such items must first be cleared through the Media Relations office. Please note that MEDA rarely (e.g. almost never) contracts with freelancers who are planning to travel in the developing world and who are hoping to pay for their trips by writing a few articles or shooting some video about development projects overseas.

MEDA gratefully acknowledges the support of partners such as Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and USAID.

Principles that guide MEDA’s media relations

MEDA desires to relate to the media for a number of reasons.

  • To share stories of how poor people are actively seeking to improve their lives through programs supported by MEDA.
  • To show that Christian faith requires believers to show concern for others through practical assistance.
  • To let Canadians and Americans know they can make a difference in the lives of poor people around the world, and to show how their donations are being used by MEDA to help poor people improve their lives.
  • To show Canadians and Americans how money contributed by their governments are being used by MEDA to help poor people improve their lives, and to acknowledge these contributions.
  • To educate people in North America about the process of development—how it works, why it’s important, the best ways to do it, and how they can be involved.
  • To show how programs that emphasize a business-oriented approach to development are among the best ways to help people escape poverty.