“The poor stay poor not because the are lazy, but because they have no access to capital.”
– Milton Friedman
Many of you are aware that profits from ITA Wealth Management are donated to organizations that help the poor begin businesses, raise food, and improve health conditions. The two primary organizations supported by ITA are Kiva and the Mennonite Economic Development Association (MEDA). For a number of years dollars were funneled into a sub-branch of MEDA known as MEDA Trust. This branch of MEDA was closed a few years ago due to lack of support and the high cost of maintenance. As a result of MEDA Trust closing, I began to shift donated dollars to Kiva. This past week I was once more contacted by MEDA to see if I was interested in a food production program in Ghana, Africa.
The Ghana food project is supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to the tune of $18,000,000. Another 2 million has been raised by MEDA supporters. This is a 6-year project, now in its third year of operation. The following information comes out of a MEDA publication and I have permission to share this on my blog.
- Assessment – MEDA will improve food security for families in northern Ghana by helping women increase availability, access and utilization of a variety of appropriate and nutritious food by strengthening production and market linkages, increasing diversification in production and creating nutrition awareness.
- Availability – Traditional farmers in Ghana have small plots, which limits how much they can grow. MEDA will encourage the use of:
- alternate corps (soy beans), better quality seeds, fertilizer and pesticides to improve yields;
- simple irrigation systems, so women can cultivate dry season crops and significantly expand the foods available for family consumption year round.
- Access – They need to supplement what they grow by purchasing food. MEDA will promote alternate income generating opportunities to complement crops, such as tending livestock and poultry and collecting shea nuts.
- Utilization – Women, who make the meals for their families, need to learn how to optimize food available to them and maximize their nutritional benefit. MEDA will raise awareness of the benefits of a safe and nutritious diet, within the context of cultural and social norms around diet and food choices.
The first contribution by ITA Wealth Management to this Ghana food growing project was made this week. This is a small effort on our part to help make a difference in this world.