Challenges: Enhancing capacity and integration of the poor into industry supply chains.
Helen Loftin

Project Manager


Waterloo, ON Canada



Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) is a non-governmental organisation that works to alleviate poverty around the world using expertise in production and marketing linkages, microfinance and investment funds and engaging the poorest of the economically active at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP).

Proposed Topic for the GIN Conference:

MEDA would like to explore via a roundtable discussion, the challenges facing the poor in acquiring technologies, technical assistance, access to information, markets, inputs, etc., that will increase their capacity to integrate into the supply chain in various industry subsectors – domestic and international. More specifically, in this roundtable forum, we would dissect the concept of “accelerating supply chains”. In our work, we consistently experience opportunities for some method to engage in broadening private sector development via temporary subsidies, vouchers, or access to appropriate forms of financing, and our attention is always towards avoiding market distortions and following a clear and viable exit strategy for our intervention(s).

Our “value chain” projects address in one form or another, the BoP constraints of inadequate options to access quality inputs and adopt technologies that could lift the producer to the levels of quantity and quality currently required by most industry channels, and/or to provide livelihood-enhancing products to our clients. As a strong proponent of sustainable solutions that integrate our target clients (as producers and/or consumers) into private sector linkages, MEDA has deployed voucher systems and various innovative microfinance products to good effect. Additionally, MEDA facilitates grassroots strategies whereby our clients form associations or groups to build capacity, seize economies of scale, and provide a more attractive supplier profile to potential buyers.

MEDA contracts include projects that integrate private sector, government, and civil society organisations to maximize core competencies such that our clients and their communities receive the best that each of our partners offers – in a consolidated strategy. We would welcome the opportunity to directly conference with private sector players and academic specialists to further mine their expertise, contribute our perspective and to develop collaborative new strategies and business models for connecting and benefiting the BoP.


All Submissions
8:00 AM-8:00 PM, Friday, June 15, 2007, Oral

The Ontario, Canada 2007 Meeting