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  • Travelled Centuries Back In Time - MEDA
    when we arrived late that Saturday morning It was Market Day Once we got through the crowds we trekked 1 5 hours up the mountain to the falls I don t hike not alone with high altitude the scorching sun and sharing the path with dozens of cows Needless to say it was a mission and it would not have been complete without stepping in cow dung and nearly being trampled a few times Haha it was still worth it Even though it was very busy we got to see the falls in its full form sometimes there is little water due to the dam I was so hot I seriously considered jumping in it but I refrained knowing it would not end well Second Stop The Lalibela Churches On the Sunday we boarded a plane for Lalibela to see the UNESCO heritage site of the 11 monotheistic rock hewn churches These churches were attributed to King Lalibela who in the 12th century set out to construct a New Jerusalem after Muslim conquests halted Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land Due to this Lalibela is one of Ethiopia s holiest cities especially for the Ethiopian Orthodox community The churches were not constructed they were excavated Each church was created by carving into the ground to form the churches from the inside and out The largest church is 40 feet high Going from Bahir Dar a lush green paradise to Lalibela a rocky mountainous desert was quite a drastic change but not any less spectacular The churches of Lalibela are unlike anything I have ever seen The most impressive was Bet Giorgis St George church It is cut 40 feet down and its roof forms the shape of a Greek cross It was built after Lalibela s death c 1220 by his widow as a memorial to the saint king It was breathtaking no literally All the walking up and down stone hills through caves and across bridges nearly killed me That weekend was a work out All the churches were so beautiful and it really was a privilege to witness something so sacred to the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and Orthodox Christians around the world This weekend was the first major touristy trip we did and I am glad we did it Ethiopia is often not given much thought but it truly has a lot to offer you just have to look for it Tweet Tags Agriculture Sightseeing MEDA Interns 2014 Private Sector Development Communication and Program Support Intern Young Entrepreneurs Big Dreams To Partner or Not to Partner When Implementing You About the author Stephanie Puras Communication and Program Support Intern View author s profile More posts from author Stephanie has an undergraduate degree in Global Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University and is currently completing a postgraduate certificate in International Development from Humber College She was born in Toronto Ontario and has grown up in Oakville Ontario Stephanie has a wide range of interests within international development In 2012 she

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/entry/travelled-centuries-back-in-time (2016-02-17)
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  • Young Entrepreneurs, Big Dreams - MEDA
    from MEDA s DC office and an E FACE colleague Wondwossen It was a really eye opening trip I learned so much from working and traveling with Lauren Wondwossen and the field staff And of course our wonderful clients always teach me so much After a 7 hour car ride we finally arrived in Wolaita We then drove to Sibaye Korke kebele kebele municipality in Damot Gale woreda woreda district to meet with a potato producer cooperative and a group of youth sales agents We were warmly welcomed by one of our female clients a member of the potato producer cooperative who had prepared tasty potatoes for us Lauren and Wondwossen facilitated a focus group discussion verifying information and data for our project s potato intervention I couldn t help but notice all the kids in the area sneaking up around us to see what was going on After this discussion we met with six youth sales agents who participated in the Building Skills for Life program They each shared about their businesses used clothing sugar cane butter coffee cereals and seed teff and what their future aspirations are It was refreshing to hear about their dreams and how the training they received changed their mindsets I interviewed one client named Aynalem and I was so encouraged by her story Despite a difficult life growing up she has worked hard to provide for herself and support her mother As we were leaving I encouraged her to study hard and chase after her dreams T he next day we visited more youth in Humbo Woreda In this group two youth stood out to me They were on time and one brought his record book to show how he keeps track of his expenses sales and savings I could tell they were very serious about their future dreams one wants to become an engineer and the other wants to become a doctor This really amazed me Through their current businesses they know if they work hard continue to save and maximize their profits they can attain their dreams Another theme I noticed among the youth was a sense of empowerment They felt empowered because they were no longer burdening their families They were earning their own income through their respective businesses and can now pay for their own expenses I have no doubt in my mind that these youth will go on to be successful and influential leaders in Ethiopia I have a few months left of my internship so I m eager to meet more clients hear their stories and document how the project facilitated positive change in their lives Tweet Tags Communication and Program Support Intern MEDA Interns 2014 MEDA Projects Agriculture Private Sector Development Looking Back and Leaning Forward Travelled Centuries Back In Time About the author Clara Yoon Communication and Program Support Intern View author s profile More posts from author Clara is from Waterloo Ontario and holds a Master of Arts in Global Governance from the University

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/entry/young-entrepreneurs-big-dreams (2016-02-17)
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  • Increasing Sustainable Economic Growth = Improved Livelihoods - MEDA
    s lives first hand Knowledge is Power Farmers Field School Group In a town called Libo I walked through hectares and hectares of farmland for what seemed to be hours I almost stepped on a snake and screamed really loud which provided entertainment for the rest of the staff Eventually I reach a series of huts and the group of farmers This was one of EDGET s Farmer Field School FFS Groups Farmers Field Schools is an EDGET initiative that gives farmers the opportunity to view demonstrations and experiment of improved farming techniques Members then share what they learned and their results with their Farmers Field School group members and neighbouring farmers Even though they were shy at first the men opened up to me about their experiences with FFS and described how they have used the new technologies to improve their rice production increase their businesses and ultimately create a better life for themselves and their families Balay Improved Technologies Increased Success After the farmers group I visited a processor named Balay Balay provides a rice processing service for neighbouring farmers Due to the training sessions and opportunities he has received from MEDA through the EDGET program his business is a huge success He also recently bought a rice processing machine on a cost sharing basis with MEDA it combines a number of steps into one The machine produces higher quality rice which increases the value and ultimately the profit Balay believes this machine will be a great investment for his business and his future This machine will not only benefit me as a processor but because it increases the quality of rice the farmers will benefit as well by receiving a greater income for the rice they produced From Fields to Markets The last person we visited was Momina a rice processor turned parboiler turned business woman Momina has been a rice processor with EDGET for a number of years but in 2013 she decided to parboil rice as well Parboiling is an additional step in processing rice that increases the nutritional value and quality Momina has used EDGET s training on market linkages to sell her rice in local markets and several supermarkets in Addis She has not only put parboiled rice on the market but has also shown the value of women as key players and entrepreneurs in the rice industry Tweet Tags Communication and Program Support Intern Agriculture Private Sector Development MEDA Interns 2014 MEDA Projects Why Include Life Skills in Youth Programming Looking Back and Leaning Forward About the author Stephanie Puras Communication and Program Support Intern View author s profile More posts from author Stephanie has an undergraduate degree in Global Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University and is currently completing a postgraduate certificate in International Development from Humber College She was born in Toronto Ontario and has grown up in Oakville Ontario Stephanie has a wide range of interests within international development In 2012 she spent three months working in Ghana with The

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/entry/increasing-sustainable-economic-growth-improved-livelihoods (2016-02-17)
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  • Leadership and Inspiration in Everyday Life - MEDA
    inspiration Recently I had one of these moments of absolute admiration and inspiration in Maase village Jalal my GROW team member and I had an early morning and a bumpy ride to this village in Upper West District I was taking pictures videos and interviewing Mary the proud new owner of a keyhole garden Her GROW group of women farmers had come to help with the construction and to learn how to build the gardens for themselves from Jalal s demonstration Several layers into the construction the garden was starting to come together but needed more top soil The women had to gather additional soil from outside of Mary s fenced in property So the women and some men formed an assembly line to pass bucket of top soil to the construction site of the keyhole garden A true testament to teamwork and support but more than that despite the fact they had been working in the heat all morning to build this garden for their group member they started singing songs laughing and smiling as they were passing buckets of soil along the assembly line I was so touched and impressed by this beautiful display of community The women showed so much strength unity and joy with access to opportunities their potential to change their communities Ghana and the world is endless My time here in Ghana hasn t been without its challenges but getting to work in this area of my passion women s empowerment is really all I need to relight my motivation I m truly inspired every day being surrounded by strong women Whether it s through these incredible moments with the women in the villages or by the strong female leaders on our MEDA team it serves as a constant reminder as to why this

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/stories-from-the-field-ghana/entry/leadership-and-inspiration-in-everyday-life (2016-02-17)
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  • Hard work and a bit of luck - MEDA
    folks from the Canadian embassy in Accra and DFATD as well as a representatives from the Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture This was my first PAC meeting What I was able to take away is that things seem to be on the up and up There was a great deal of optimism for year three of the project and I feel like things have improved in that regard since the last PAC meeting in June This optimism will surely be necessary The project has ambitious targets and the rate of uptake by the clients i e the number of women planting soybeans within the GROW project must increase drastically for next year s planting season and in subsequent years for these targets to be met I have two thoughts on this Initially I fear that the low hanging fruit has already been targeted so to speak that it will be difficult to convince the remaining women who are enrolled in GROW but aren t yet planting to plant next season These remaining women are perhaps more risk averse and will be very hesitant to try something new making achieving the targets set for the number of women planting a tall order Countering this is that the initial work put in with the other value chain actors will hopefully yield more reliable service and more stronger linkages after a longer duration relationship has developed enabling more women to access these crucial services and inputs when they need them and allow more to plant This will work in the project s favour going forward and be a positive factor in the following years that was not present at the outset I think it will come down to whether or not women who have planted in the past were successful In groups where women have been successful and have earned a decent income from their crop it will encourage more women from those groups to plant next year However in groups where women encountered problems and were unable to earn an income or a high enough income to justify their efforts it will be very hard to convince additional women from those groups to try planting and indeed it may be hard to retain the numbers we do have The abilities and strengths of our field officers will affect this to a degree but I have learned that it is very hard to change people s perceptions and change ideas that have been long held and are entrenched Some of the shortfalls from last season were due to bad luck such as poor weather In some of these communities successes will beget more success but in communities that experienced difficulties we will certainly have our work cut out for us Tweet Tags MEDA Projects Enterprise Development Intern MEDA Interns 2014 Women Economic Opportunities MEDA Convention Reflection I met the most interes Leadership and Inspiration in Everyday Life About the author Kevin Linklater Program Support Enterprise Development Intern View

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/stories-from-the-field-ghana/entry/hard-work-and-a-bit-of-luck (2016-02-17)
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  • Exploring the North: Bahir Dar and Lalibela - MEDA
    so as we drove one hour to the falls there were lots of people walking with their cattle or goats We met up with our tour guide who led us on a 1 5 hour hike Many times we were face to face with cows walking on the path on their way to the market We saw the Portuguese Bridge and the Blue Nile Falls and then walked back to finish our tour There were many kids selling scarves and hand made crafts along our hike telling us Madam I ll give you a good price I eventually caved and bought one even though I ve already accumulated so many in Addis We relaxed for a few hours and then went for dinner along the lake and watched the sunset In Bahir Dar we took these 3 wheeled scooter type taxis called Bajaj s or Touk touk s they were super cheap and really easy to use After dinner we checked out Kuriftu for dessert along with good talks under a full moon The next part of our trip was to Lalibela a town renowned for its rock hewn churches that were built in the 12th century The story goes that King Lalibela sought to create a New Jerusalem for those who could not make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land The churches were not constructed in a traditional method rather they were excavated and carved from the living rock of monolithic blocks The churches are still used to this day by Orthodox Christians And now that it is a UNESCO heritage site tourism has really taken off over the past few years The landscape in Lalibela reminded me of the Grand Canyon although I ve never been It s very desert like with canyons and plateaus all around After resting up we went to see the churches It was really amazing to see the churches inside and out My favourite was St George the church shaped in a cross We had a really good guide who showed us all 11 churches within 3 5 hours It was an exhausting tour as we walked through passages trenches and in and out of most of the churches While it was overall a really good trip I m glad to be back in Addis After a few days of traveling all you want is the familiarity of your own home and the variety of food options that are available in the city With about four months left of this internship I m hoping to squeeze in a few more trips to see more of Ethiopia It really is a beautiful country I had a few moments throughout this past trip that reminded me that I am very blessed to be here with MEDA and working on a great project that is changing lives Tweet Tags MEDA Interns 2014 Communication and Program Support Intern Agriculture Economic Opportunities Sightseeing I believe in what we are doing here MEDA Convention Reflection Thank you for the

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/entry/exploring-the-north-bahir-dar-and-lalibela (2016-02-17)
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  • I believe in what we are doing here - MEDA
    it and measuring it is not always precise in the best circumstances let s not forget that pesky Ghanaian inflation However I have received good support from the other MEDA staff here and I have a clear goal which is to see Baaro Enterprise turn a profit from producing and selling soymilk and to therefore become a sustainable and reliable buyer of soybeans from local farmers I have also been tasked by Catherine the country manager to work with the other staff to compile a manual for the field officers I have now attended 5 meetings with our key facilitating partners KFPs local NGOs that MEDA has partnered with to carry out the GROW project at the community level From those meetings I have learned all of the challenges and opportunities that the field officers face in implementing the GROW project in the communities A myriad of obstacles must be overcome logistics social group formation and navigating the web of community relationships ownership the availability of financial services even the weather But this manual will hopefully smooth out some of these hurdles and support these field officers by providing them with a template for action including who will be supporting them at each stage of implementation It also helps that I believe in what we are doing here I have met many other expats and a few have shrugged their shoulders when I ask what sort of work they are engaged in saying something to the effect of well I just do whatever This was one of my biggest fears in heading overseas to do development work that I would simply be a voluntourist involved in a project with a fuzzy but lofty sounding goal but with no concrete outcomes that would change anything If our project is successful it

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/stories-from-the-field-ghana/entry/i-believe-in-what-we-are-doing-here (2016-02-17)
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  • Almost 2 months down! - MEDA
    swing I am also excited to report that this week I will going out to Bahir Dar a city north of Addis to work with MEDA s office there For those of you who are still a little unsure of what it is exactly I do here I thought that this would be good opportunity to give you a little more background on EDGET the project I am working with as I will be going out to the field and meeting some of our clients in a couple of days Ethiopians Driving Growth through Entrepreneurship and Trade EDGET is a 5 year pro poor value chain development project that is funded by DFATD We aim to increase the income of 10 000 rice farmers and textile artisans by giving improved technologies training on better farming techniques business skills and creating access to local markets and business partnerships Currently we have approximately 8 000 client farmers in the Amhara Region and Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region SNNPR and 2 000 textile clients in Addis Ababa and SNNPR So what am I going to be doing in Bahir Dar I am going to be visiting our MEDA office there which is situated in the Amhara Region and following up on three of our rice farmer clients in the surrounding villages Basically I will visit each site and interview the clients on how their business as rice farmers has been what are the challenges they have faced and how they have benefited from participating in the EDGET project With the information gathered I will then conduct some briefs to explain the situation for some donors visiting MEDA Ethiopia next week On Friday Clara is going to come meet me in Bahir Dar and we are going to take this chance to explore a bit of Bahir Dar and some touristy sites Lake Tana the origin of the Nile and Blue Nile Falls Then we are hopping on a plane to Lalibela home to one of the world s most astounding sacred sites eleven rock hewn churches I have a busy and slightly stressful week ahead including the dreaded 5am airport visit tomorrow but hopefully it will be worth it Tweet Tags MEDA Interns 2014 Communication and Program Support Intern Agriculture Private Sector Development Internship Experience Beyond the Rough Bumpy Roads I believe in what we are doing here About the author Stephanie Puras Communication and Program Support Intern View author s profile More posts from author Stephanie has an undergraduate degree in Global Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University and is currently completing a postgraduate certificate in International Development from Humber College She was born in Toronto Ontario and has grown up in Oakville Ontario Stephanie has a wide range of interests within international development In 2012 she spent three months working in Ghana with The Ark Foundation an organization specializing in women s rights and empowerment She was also selected to participate in a United Nations Conference on the Post 2015 Millennium

    Original URL path: http://meda.org/intern-blogs-yc/entry/almost-2-months-down (2016-02-17)
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