Local Women Networking to Make a Difference

Women Empowering Women(WEW) with Mennonite Economic Development Association (MEDA) is a grassroots group providing a way for local women to network together and make a difference for women in third world countries.

For those less familiar with MEDA, its core mission is to create business solutions to poverty.  The goal of the WEW group is to raise awareness of MEDA’s various projects that empower women to rise above social and cultural barriers towards better livelihoods. This is important because when women have improved livelihoods, their families and communities also benefit.

The DelVal WEW group formed after a number of local women took an inspiring trip to Ethiopia with MEDA. The women participating on the trip began brainstorming about how to create a  more personal way for local women to learn about the impact of MEDA programs in regards to women, and the concept for WEW was born.

WEW is a forum for like-minded women to hear about global women’s issues.  They have hosted 4 meetings in the last year, each highlighting MEDA programs in a specific country and the special challenges to overcoming poverty that women face.  At each meeting, women get to learn about specific MEDA projects and participate in interactive activities that increase understanding of the day-to-day issues women face in countries where access to education, equality and business is often challenged by their culture. During the meeting, participants get to try foods that are common to the highlighted country and there is time set aside for questions , discussion and networking.  At each meeting, women will learn ways they can continue to support the work of MEDA, and make a difference in the lives of these women.
The last WEW meeting focused on Ghana, which was especially insightful because three area women had visited the projects in Ghana the month before the local meeting, and they were able to share their personal insights and photos from the trip.  The meeting highlighted the work of the Ghana Grow program (Greater Rural Opportunities for Women), which has already reached over 20,000 women and provided them with improved farming techniques, nutritional awareness, financial services, and better access to markets.  In turn, these improvements have led to greater income for the women, better nutrition for their families (providing more protein for their children) and an increased ‘voice’ in their families and communities, due to their farming successes.

Women are encouraged and invited to join this dynamic and growing new program!  The next meeting focuses on how MEDA is supporting women entrepreneurs in Libya and will be held on Thursday, March 30 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at Harleysville Party Rental, 851 Maple Ave.  Feel free to just come, or can register ahead of time  with Allison Nafiziger via email (anafiziger@Meda.org)or by calling 717-560-6546.