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more_cash_for_coconuts MEDA - Read online

MEDA-supported project improves lives of Kenyan farmers

Omar Mwalivunzi grows coconuts on his 15-acre (six hectare) farm, which is surrounded by forest in a rural area 35 km (21.7 miles) south of Mombasa, a coastal city of Kenya along the Indian Ocean.

He has 10 children, two of whom are still dependent on him. Omar is one of 3,000 coconut farmers who MEDA and its partner Kentaste are helping maximize what they earn from their harvests. The effort is part of MEDA’s M-SAWA (Maendeleo Sawa — Swahili for equal prosperity through private sector development) project.

Winnipeg-contractor-values-work-life-balance MEDA - Read online

Manitoba renovation firm prioritizes employee care, energy efficiency

By John Longhurst

Plates were filled with bacon, eggs, hash browns and toast. A buzz of comfortable conversation filled the air at Wannabees restaurant in west end Winnipeg as owners and employees of Roost Custom Builders gathered for breakfast one early March morning.

The weekly get-together, held every Monday until the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to eating out, was part social gathering and part staff meeting — very much woven into the fabric of the small company of eight.

Jennifer Moss

Ongoing “baby steps” needed to rewire our thinking

Many employees are neither happy nor fully engaged at their jobs, Jennifer Moss says.

Studies show that only 13 per- cent of people globally are engaged and happy at work, Moss said in a presentation to MEDA staff from around the world at the organization’s annual planning meeting.

Building bridges across the funding gap

African lender serves medium-sized firms known as “the missing middle”

Access to finance is a challenge for many of the clients MEDA works within developing countries.

Some of MEDA’s efforts to bridge this financing gap involve investing in organizations that specialize in lending to small and medium-sized businesses. One such company is Business Partners International (BPI). MEDA has invested in BPI through MEDA’s Risk Capital Fund.

business-buddies MEDA - Read online

Community support for Indiana entrepreneurs starts with each other

By Marshall V. King

GOSHEN, Indiana — A thriving downtown develops like a flower arrangement.

Piece by piece, flowers and greenery are put together, building to become a beautiful collection.

self-care MEDA - Read online

By April Yamasaki

Is self-care part of your paid employment, and should it be? When I invited readers to respond to this online poll question, the results were 61% yes, 21% no, 18% it depends.

Offline, a nursing supervisor in mid-career says, “Of course, self- care is part of the job. Taking regular breaks is essential, especially on long shifts.”

podcast MEDA - Read online

Faith & Work podcasts are increasingly common in the US

Podcasts, also known as on-demand internet radio talks, have been growing in popularity over the past decade.

Over the past two years, the variety and profile of these niche programs has exploded. There are radio shows, blogs, magazines and conventions devoted to highlighting the best, quirkiest and most talked-about podcasts.

Rebecca Stoltzfus - Goshen College photo

Mennonite higher education prepares students for lifelong problem-solving in evolving economy, Goshen president argues

By Rebecca Stoltzfus

There are a lot of negative narratives about college these days, like this one:

“I’ve been telling my kids since they were old enough to know what college is that they will never, ever go there . .
. . Over my dead body will I see my children begin their adult lives saddled with enormous debt and facing dismal employment prospects, because that is no way to live your life. . . .

Paul Plett filmed Mennonite farmers in seven countries.

Grebel lectures explore Mennonite farmers’ relationship with faith and food production

Care for the earth rooted in Christian faith continues to be a strong motivator for Mennonite farmers around the world, a Conrad Grebel University College audience heard recently.

Food and Faith was the focus of the 20th annual Bechtel lecture at Grebel. The series, sponsored by retired Waterloo Region farmer Lester Bechtel, explores a variety of topics related to Mennonite history, identity, faith and culture.

boomchickapop-featuted MEDA - Read online

Minnesota couple builds kettle corn firm into an internationally known brand

When Angie and Dan Bastian started a business in 2001 to build a college fund for their children, they had neither money nor experience.

They didn’t understand sales, marketing, retailing or branding. Sixteen years later, their popcorn company, Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP, was acquired for $250 million.

Folake Owodunni and Maame Poku won $10,000 at MEDA’s pitch competition.

Waterloo firm aims to deliver affordable emergency service to Nigerians

In many North American communities, people who have a medical emergency dial 911.

“In my home country of Nigeria, there is no one to call,” Folake Owodunni says.

MEDA president and CEO Dr. Dorothy Nyambi addresses the annual convention

MEDA continues to expand its reach in creating business solutions to poverty, growth made possible by record gifts from supporters, the organization’s annual convention in Tucson was told.

During the fiscal year ended June 30, MEDA impacted the lives of almost 843,000 clients, working in 76 countries with 26 active projects, along with 543 investment and investment partners.

mary-fehr-featured MEDA - Read online

Leamington woman returns home to take a leadership role in family business

Mary Fehr’s decision-making on a career path took her thousands of miles away from home, to multiple places before returning to the family business a decade later.

Fehr, daughter of Uni-Fab president Abe Fehr, told the story of her journey along with her father in a seminar at MEDA’s annual convention in Tucson in early November.

Uni-Fab is one of Ontario’s largest custom metal fabricators. It works in the aerospace, machine and tool and oil and gas sectors, primarily in North America, with some of its products shipped worldwide.

Coffee with a side order of changed lives

Electric Brew owner buys beans directly from Central American growers

By Marshall V. King

GOSHEN, Indiana — Myron Bontrager doesn’t tell his customers that the coffee he sells them will change their life.

But if they ask, or if he has a chance, he’ll tell them about how it changes the lives of the people who grew, picked and processed it.

He’ll tell a customer in Goshen or Elkhart, Indiana, where locations of The Electric Brew hum with business, that it cost him 1.25 cents from that $2 cup of coffee to buy fair trade coffee directly from a cooperative of producers in a coffee-growing region far closer to the equator than northern Indiana.