Kenya & Rwanda

Second Chance Success

March 2020 - 2022

Blended Finance Approaches to Women’s Economic Empowerment


When women are economically empowered, they re-invest in their families and communities, producing a multiplier effect that spurs economic growth and contributes to global peace and stability. Yet, lack of access to finance is one of the major barriers facing women entrepreneurs around the world.

While the women’s access-to-finance gap is well documented, little research exists which examines viable approaches that improve access to capital for women entrepreneurs. Without proven approaches, investment funds will not apply a gender lens to their investments, which perpetuates this gap. The Second Chance Success project seeks to identify and test strategies that remove barriers to women entrepreneurs’ access to capital. By sharing the results, best practices, and lessons learned from the Second Chance Success pilot, the project can make the business case to finance women entrepreneurs and also why GLI approaches are effective. This, in turn, can build the confidence of investors. Ultimately, greater investor confidence will lead to increased capital flows to women-owned businesses and investments that use a gender lens. 

Project Updates

Why we need to invest in biodiversity

This December, the 15th Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meets in Montreal to create a mechanism that enables people, like this rice farmer, to make decisions that do not result in biodiversity loss but rather protect and restore it. The main objective is to adopt a 10-year biodiversity framework that will advance, protect, and sustainably use the biodiversity of our planet.


MEDA releases its “Farmers’ Economic Advancement Through Seedlings (FEATS)” project learning series

Today, MEDA released its “Farmers’ Economic Advancement Through Seedlings (FEATS)” project Learning Series papers. This learning series contains valuable insights from the FEATS project, which ran for seven years, concluding in the latter half of 2022. FEATS aimed to improve the economic well-being of women and men farmers in tree crop industries in Ghana by providing women and men farmers and enterprises with the finance, technology, and technical assistance they need to build thriving farms and businesses.


What we learned at the Cacao Congress in “Chocolate City,” Philippines

Under the theme “Cacao is Gold,” we met with our friends and colleagues for two days at the Annual National Cacao Congress on November 24th-25th to create strategies to make the cacao industry in the Philippines reach its full potential. MEDA presented its Global Affairs-funded Resilience and Inclusion through Investment for Sustainable Agrikultura (RIISA) project.


MEDA partners with The Mastercard Foundation to create thousands of jobs through funding investments in Africa for women and youth entrepreneurs

MEDA is pleased to announce that the USD $200 million Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund (MFAGF) launched today. The Fund-of-Funds initiative will help advance the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy, which aims to enable 30 million young people in Africa, particularly young women, to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.


COP27 – Why moving too slow on climate change is not an option

In 2015, the world came together in Paris, France at the 21st Annual Conference of Parties (COP) to implement the Paris Agreement. This legally binding international treaty on climate change committed 196 countries to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. It is expected every COP after Paris will build on its impressive achievement.


MEDA promotes gender equality at an impact investing forum in Guatemala

MEDA was a co-sponsor and presenter of the Gender Lens Investing Forum and the Latin America Impact Investment Forum (GLI FLII) in Latin America 2022. This forum took place from November 7th-10th. Co-organized by Pro Mujer and Alterna, the forum served as a key platform for learning, discussion, and networking on impact investing in Latin America and the Caribbean and focused on how Gender Lens investing is an effective driver of equality and economic development in the region.


The future of the global food system

A couple of weeks ago, MEDA’s Annual Convention allowed us to see our colleagues, friends, and supporters in person for the first time since 2019. We heard from engaging speakers and participated in various tours and networking events. As part of the Convention, I was one of the speakers at the “Addressing the risks in our global food systems and what it means for entrepreneurs” seminar. Along with my great colleagues, we had an opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities entrepreneurs face in the current global food system (GFS).


MEDA celebrates entrepreneurship in Lancaster, PA

Under the theme, “Celebrating Entrepreneurship,” MEDA celebrated its first in-person Annual Convention since 2019. From November 3rd-6th, this well-attended event included an engaging lineup of speakers and activities. Attendees listened to dynamic speakers and participated in various tours and networking events.


#MEDAField2Fork 2022 contest winners

The #MEDAField2Fork2022 photo contest asked readers to submit pictures highlighting the agrifood sector, depicting the production, processing, distribution, or sale of food. The winning entries featured on the cover of this issue and in this article provide a glimpse into agriculture in Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, India, and Uganda.


Growing good grain

Wheat has been one of the world’s most important food staples for thousands of years. But erosion on frequently tilled land is a serious problem in several areas of the world. Wind and water have ravaged and degraded formerly fertile fields.




This program was undertaken with the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development.


Criterion Institute, Volta Capital and Business Partners International (BPI)