Sparking growth for 10K Ethiopian farmers, weavers

by MEDA - Mennonite Economic Development Associates
May 10, 2013

Learning the wisdom of Solomon

Solomon carrying bags of rice
Solomon carrying bags of rice

Each grain in a bag of rice is a symbol of nutrition, abundance, fertility and prosperity. Like each grain of rice, each MEDA donor shares your support, encouragement and giving spirit – contributing to the common goal of the project.

We’re striving to provide 10,000 farmers and weavers with more sustainable livelihoods – and we’re thankful that you were inspired to give of yourself. Thanks to you, MEDA’s EDGET project (Ethiopians Driving Growth through Entrepreneurship and Trade) is facilitating access to growing markets, providing new technologies, enhancing production techniques and making affordable financial support services.

We want to thank you once again for your compassion and kindness towards people you’ve never met. And we’d like to offer you a glimpse of the impact you have made, with Solomon’s story. Please feel free to share it with others.

Here’s how your gift has foster Solomon’s entrepreneurial spirit:

Solomon is a processor in Ethiopia working in the small village of Menhar. He’s been collecting and selling grain to processors for 15 years.

In 2007, Solomon established his own processing business. With four employees, he processes rice, and wholesales oat and rough peas. He lives next to his business, where he uses two machines to transport and polish the rice.

Solomon supports a household of six, including his wife, who helps him with the business, two daughters, his sister and a housekeeper.

Through MEDA’s new work with Bunna International Bank, a private bank in Ethiopia, he was able to get a loan of working capital for 180,000 birr (about $10,000). Previously, Solomon had borrowed from a local microfinance institution, Amhara Credit and Savings, but their maximum loan is only 5,000 birr. 

His loan from Bunna Bank enables him to buy and process in bulk, which has increased his revenue to a large extent. Solomon can collect more paddy rice by giving cash advances to 15 farmer-traders for 5,000 birr each. He is also buying processed rice and wholesaling to retailers in Addis Ababa. 

Thanks to supporters like you, Solomon can compete with the other big processors in town because he has the working capital to offer immediate cash payments that attract more customers. Although he only recently got the loan, he can already see the difference it has made in terms of increased number of customers and higher revenue. As a result, he believes that making his monthly loan payments will not pose a problem. Solomon anticipates more benefit from the additional working capital and realizing the impact of the loan in his life in the near future.

EDGET Client Update
Here’s a follow-up to the story about the Addis Alem VSLA (Village Savings and Loan Association) that we profiled in our last update. Watch this video of the members discussing how they learned about VSLAs, why they joined, and the benefits it provides.

New Project on GlobalGiving!
Family is first. This includes being able to support them. Techno-Links (Technology Links for Improved Access and Incomes) allows 20 agriculture input suppliers in Peru and Nicaragua to better reach 5,000 small farmers, enabling them to increase yields and gain new income opportunities. As a result, their household members – over 20,000 people – will benefit. New technology means farming businesses can grow. Techno-Links creates more sustainable livelihoods for suppliers and farmer families. To learn about our new project, Forging Links for 5k Farmers in Peru & Nicaragua, please visit

From all of us at MEDA, THANK YOU for your continued support of our work – we couldn’t have the impact we have without people like you. Through your generosity, 10,000 farmers and weavers like Solomon can continue to improve their crops and goods, connect with urban markets, increase their profits, and participate in the broader benefits of national economic growth. With an average of five people per household, EDGET is bringing new hope and opportunities to 50,000 lives.

If you’d like more information, visit our website or email To renew your support, you can donate by giving us a call at 1-800-665-7026, or go to

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Isn’t it exciting to see the difference you have made in the lives of budding Ethiopian entrepreneurs? We are so thankful to you for choosing to make their dreams a reality – helping them to create a stronger future for their families!


Linda Whitmore

Solomon's loan has made him an entrepreneur
Solomon is now creating opportunities for others
Solomon is now creating opportunities for others



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Organization Information

MEDA - Mennonite Economic Development Associates

Location: Waterloo, ON - Canada
Website: http:/​/​
MEDA - Mennonite Economic Development Associates
Project Leader:
Linda Whitmore
Waterloo, ON Canada

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