MEDA Blog - Stories from the Field
Keisha is a development finance specialist with over thirteen years’ experience in providing strategic managerial and technical assistance to start-up, mature and commercial microfinance institutions, NGOs, agricultural enterprises and government entities in West Africa, Afghanistan, North America and the Caribbean. She is currently the Project Manager responsible for Financial Inclusion in the DFATD-funded YouLead Project which is improving economic opportunities for young women and men in Nigeria’s Cross River State.
Christine Faveri is the Director of the Women's Economic Opportunities team at MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates). She has worked on gender equality as a development practitioner, technical advisor, policy analyst and program manager for over 20 years. Christine leads the MEDA team that focuses explicitly on integrating gender and women into value chain and market systems development programming as well as exploring innovative approaches to support female entrepreneurs.
Sarah French, from Picton, Ontario, loves being active and is passionate about traveling. She enjoys wakeboarding, skiing, running, and biking. Ever since a yearlong exchange to Argentina, she has been "hooked" on traveling the world. After graduating with a degree in international relations, she traveled with MEDA to Nicaragua for seven months. It was there that she started exploring diverse economic conditions and the adversaries that MEDA faces in its work. Because of her understanding of these conditions, she developed a desire to help.
Mary Fehr is from Leamington, Ontario. She is the youngest daughter of Abe and Lisa Fehr, and leads an active life. Mary played junior ice hockey in Boston, which led her to Nichols College. At Nichols, she studied marketing and communication and starting thinking about how she could integrate her studies into her life. Shortly after graduating in 2013, she traveled with MEDA to Tanzania for nine months. It was here that her interest in international development began. Towards the end of her internship, she and Sarah often asked each other "What's next?" According to Mary, "It only felt right to use this ride as a chance to give back to the wonderful work MEDA does every day." She is excited to embrace the adventures and challenges this trip will present knowing that Bike to Grow will help women around the world.
Elena Mizrokhi is the M&E Specialist with MEDA’s YouthInvest project in Morocco. She has been with MEDA for two and a half years, working to support results-based programing decisions and promote project learning through various monitoring tools and evaluation methodologies. Elena has also been providing technical support for a 3ie sponsored impact evaluation of YouthInvest’s “100 Hours to Success” training program.
Farah is responsible for promoting increased financial access, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for young women and men around the world. She currently manages the financial inclusion component of the Global Affairs Canada funded Nigeria YouLead Project, which is led by CUSO. The project began in 2014 and will run for five years. She also oversees the Jordan Valley Links project which focuses on women and youth entrepreneurs and will run until 2021.
Nicki is responsible for working through established financial and non-financial local partners and networks to stimulate economic development and promote financial inclusion for youth globally. She is also responsible for exploring new opportunities for the Youth Team and manages local and international donor relations.  Nicki currently manages Jordan USAID LENS project with MEDA supporting the access to finance for emerging MSEs (Micro, Small Entrepreneurs) and manages the youth and gender access to financial and non-financial services component on the Themar project in Yemen.

Jennifer Denomy is MEDA’s Technical Director of Vulnerable Populations, which includes a focus on women, youth and rural populations. She is based in MEDA’s West Africa, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional team.

In this role, she develops and leads MEDA's strategy to promote increased economic inclusion for vulnerable populations.  She has expertise in incorporating women and youth into markets, supporting entrepreneurship, promoting financial inclusion and providing training and facilitation. She brings experience in financial inclusion and livelihoods programming in Egypt, Morocco, Uganda, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Mongolia and Afghanistan. From 2009 to 2012, she was facilitator of the SEEP Network’s Youth Financial Services Practitioner Learning Program, a three year action research project that brought together four microfinance organizations to explore appropriate and accessible financial services for young people. A trained facilitator and curriculum designer, she has twenty years’ experience conducting tailored workshops, training trainers and creating training materials. Prior to joining MEDA, Jennifer worked as the pedagogical manager of a teacher training centre in Germany and a curriculum designer for BRAC’s Non-formal Primary Education Program in Bangladesh.  Jennifer holds a Master's degree in Education and International Development from the University of Toronto and an M.A in English Language and Literature from McGill University. 

Clarissa was born and raised in Germany, but spent the latter part of her life in the United States. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration with a specialization in Non-profit Management and Global Leadership and Management from Portland State University, Oregon. In 2014, Clarissa began as MEDA’s Communications Intern for the GROW project in Northern Ghana. Clarissa is now a Gender Strategist Consultant at Global Communities in Ghana.
Kevin hails from Winnipeg and holds a bachelor's degree in Political Economy from the University of Manitoba, as well as a master's degree in Development Economics from Dalhousie University.  Kevin has spent the last year working in politics and writing news for the Manitoban.  This summer Kevin took on a short term position within the office of the Minister of Agriculture in Manitoba.  He has travelled extensively and is learning the French language.  Kevin is thrilled to be taking part in the GROW initiative in Ghana this coming fall.
Clara is from Waterloo, Ontario and holds a Master of Arts in Global Governance from the University of Waterloo. Clara's interests and experiences over the past few years have ranged from volunteering with children and women in Kampala, Uganda; interning with a North Korean human rights organization in Seoul, South Korea; conducting a Junior Fellowship in Asia-Pacific Security issues; and tutoring high school students at an after-school program in her local community in Kitchener-Waterloo. Clara's current interest and passion is in the field of education and the importance of providing opportunities for youth to develop their passions and talents. She is excited to be joining MEDA as the Communication and Program Support Intern for the E-FACE program in Ethiopia.
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 Development Goals in New York City this past February. Furthermore, she has spent the past five years volunteering with Free the Children and has worked on a number of their campaigns. Stephanie loves to travel and is very passionate about helping others as well as learning about different cultures. She is very excited and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of MEDA and work with the EDGET program in Ethiopia.

Jared graduated with his Master’s degree in Business Administration from Azusa Pacific University in southern California. For the following three years, he worked as a crew leader for the National Park Service, leading youth conservation crews in rehabilitation and construction projects in National Parks such as Yosemite, Denali, Saguaro, and Arches.  During his off season Jared traveled throughout SE Asia backpacking and volunteering in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.  In 2011-2012 Jared served a fellowship for the Seattle based non-profit, Vittana, in Kigali, Rwanda.  Here he worked and partnered at a local microfinance bank implementing financial service products to help university and vocational students complete their education.  For the past year, he has worked in resource development for the International Rescue Committee in Phoenix, Arizona. Jared is a strong believer in the power of opening up financial access to the under-resourced and is excited to serve as a MEDA intern.

Ines is a Masters candidate for May 2013 studying International Development at American University. With her international background as well as being bilingual, Ines always finds ways to remain active while in school. Before her position as a Project Coordinator Intern with MEDA,  Ines worked for Women for Women international as a Sponsorship Intern in the spring of 2011. Ines also had a great field internship with Plan International in the summer of 2011 in Burkina Faso, her country of origin. In the long run, Ines would like to found her own NGO which will have the status, the power, and the expertise to help developing countries all around the world. In her free time, Ines likes crafting, cooking, traveling and is still learning to appreciate Americans winters.

Mary was born in Leamington, Ontario and lived there until the age of 17. After high school, she was given the opportunity to play junior ice hockey for the Boston Shamrocks, which led to her to be recruited for Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts for the next four years. She is a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration specializing in Marketing with a minor in Communications.  During the summers, she worked at Silver Lake Mennonite Camp where she filled many different roles from counsellor to lifeguard to last summer where she led a leadership program. She has been fortunate to be able to travel to a few places, such as Germany, Paraguay, Argentina and most recently Ukraine and Istanbul. She loved learning about the different culture in all of these places and is excited to experience life in Tanzania. She is quite thankful for this opportunity and looks forward to being part of the great work MEDA does!

Curtis was born and raised in Kincardine, ON.  He graduated from Trent University in Peterborough, ON with a Geography Degree as well as completed a Graduate Certificate at Fleming College in Lindsay, ON for GIS: Application Specialist. He has over 5 years past experience working with Mapping/GIS, databases and programming. In the past, he volunteered with Mission trips to the Village of Hope in Kisumu, Kenya and most recently a few months ago in Harare, Zimbabwe as well as with a group 'Friends of Honduran Children' near Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Past working positions have been with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, City of Brampton and Kawartha Heritage Conservancy. Some of his interests include sports (soccer, hockey, tennis), listening to music and trying new foods. He is looking forward to experience and learn about a new culture and land while assisting MEDA with its TNVS program through distributing ITNs, tracking technology and building new relationships with Tanzanians.

Stefanie V. Santana was born in Peru and then moved to Montréal, where she currently lives. She graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration from HEC Montreal in Finance and International Business. In addition, Stefanie has had the opportunity to live in 3 different continents and has visited more than 15 countries. She is quite excited and grateful for this new international experience which will be an interesting journey of hard work, accomplishments and fun.

Sarah is a graduate of Ottawa’s Carleton University in International Relations as well as Teaching English as a second language. Throughout her university studies, she travelled extensively, most recently completing a university exchange in Pamplona, Spain.  While abroad, she volunteered with OXFAM and also taught English. To date, her biggest accomplishment has been the personal growth she has received from the Rotary Exchange to Argentina she did at the age of 17. Her first hand experiences in Argentina with culture shock and poverty has molded and changed her direction on life.  This in turn aided her drive to volunteer even more upon return. She immediately became an active member of The Humanitarian Organization for Latin American Students (H.O.L.A.S), at Carleton, where fundraising was done to provide humanitarian support for countries in need. Sarah’s long term goal is to enable people to take responsibility for their own future development and she believes that MEDA’s values will help her substantially in meeting these goals. Her personal philosophy of helping is summed up by the proverb, “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime.”

Catherine is from Toronto and holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto as well as a post-graduate certificate in International Development and Project Management from Humber College. Catherine has spent the last year working with the Rural Education Institute of Mexico, a small non-profit that provides educational programs for children and youth living in rural Mexico. She has also spent time teaching English in Spain and has extensive experience working with children and youth. Microfinance has always been a great topic of interest for Catherine who focused her Master’s research on microfinance in Ghana. Catherine is extremely excited to be joining MEDA and for the opportunity to work with its partner MiCrédito in Nicaragua.