FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 27, 2013
Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant for ground-breaking research in global health and development
WATERLOO, ON - MEDA - Mennonite Economic Development Associates – announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. MEDA will pursue an innovative global health and development research project in Ghana, Water Catchment, Storage and Irrigation for Women.
Effective, affordable water catchment, storage and irrigation systems will help women in Ghana to extend their growing season and produce more food to feed their families. MEDA will test models that can be assembled with local available components and easily used by women from varying locations and agricultural yields. Commercial suppliers will offer demonstrations and introductory discounts to stimulate early adoption, strengthening both supply and demand.
If women farmers in Northern Ghana can raise food, specifically vegetables and legumes, during the dry season they can improve their families' nutrition and earn income to buy supplemental food, cover health, education and household costs. With low-cost, appropriate and effective systems readily available, women farmers can harvest water during the rainy season, store it and use efficient yet simple irrigation mechanisms for dry season cultivation.
"This grant will allow us to bring our knowledge of providing irrigation solutions in Zambia, Afghanistan and elsewhere to Ghana, where we already have experience working with women in agriculture" says Rachel Hess, senior consultant/project manager for MEDA's Women's Economic Opportunities department. "It's great to be recognized as a leader in providing global health and development initiatives and to use this research opportunity to truly make an impact."
Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. MEDA's project is one of more than 80 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 11 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
To receive funding, MEDA and other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 11 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas that included development of the next generation condom, agriculture development, and neglected tropical diseases.
For more information, please contact:
About Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)
MEDA is an international development organization founded in 1953 that creates sustainable business solutions to poverty. For 60 years, we have partnered with the poor to help them start or grow small and medium-sized businesses in developing regions around the world. Our goal is to unleash entrepreneurship and empower people to permanently change their lives. Our expertise includes bringing financial services, improved technology, business training and better access to markets for entrepreneurs, along with providing equity investment opportunities. We focus on bringing a comprehensive set of solutions for either growing or starting businesses for those in rural areas, low-income women and youth. We invest in our clients' dreams and share risk with those we serve.
About Grand Challenges Explorations
Grand Challenges Explorations is a US$100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, over 850 people in more than 50 countries have received Grand Challenges Explorations grants. The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization. The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short two-page online applications and no preliminary data required. Initial grants of US$100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million.