Rachel Zedeck
Founder and Managing Director of Medea Group

Medea Group Founder and Managing Director Rachel Zedeck guides the organization with more than a decade of personal hands-on experience facilitating international business, local non profit and social entrepreneurship in post conflict countries including Kosovo, Jordan, Iraq, Kenya and Southern Sudan.

Zedeck founded Medea Group with the vision is to empower commercial, governmental and non-profit organizations with unique knowledge to make critical decisions, leverage opportunities and minimize risk in Africa’s post conflict regions and emerging markets facilitating responsible development and investment. She believes it is possible to “do good making money.”

Before founding Medea Group, Ms. Zedeck spent three years managing a commercial consultancy operating in Jordan and Iraq facilitating international business development for Middle East and Multi national firms establishing business channels and independent project finance in the region. After a career in the telecommunications sector, Rachel spent two and a half years in Kosovo in Director-level positions in both the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Her development experience includes the design and implementation of IT infrastructure and support of technical requirements for the 2002 elections for the Kosovar Provisional Institution of Self Government (PISG) while integrating a multi-ethnic Kosovar, Serbian and international staff. During this tenure, Rachel was first exposed to the complex challenges facing humanitarian and commercial organizations attempting to affect real social and economic change in post-conflict regions.

Since arriving in Africa, Rachel remains committed to launching her unique blend of analysis, strategy and social entrepreneurship. She blends this analysis into practical methodologies to promote models of improved human security through socially responsible investment and privatized microfinance. Her work includes a proprietary agro-based social enterprise; the Backpack Farm Agriculture Program (www.backpackfarm.org). The BOP program enhances both the capacity and eco-friendly technologies used by Africa’s rural farmers to ensure food security and economic empowerment through sustainable value chains. Since 2009, the program is winning acclamations; a Global Change Agent by Timberland (www.changent.com) and recently named one of Sotokoto Magazine’s top 100 Global Warriors in championing ecology and social change. The successful launch and continued expansion of this program is a practical demonstration of Rachel’s expertise to implement practical social media strategies, grassroots marketing, fundraising and targeted development of corporate sponsorships.

While rural sector development is a major priority, Rachel also realizes the potential for enhancing the social equity in commercial agriculture production models. Consequently, in 2009 she led the incubation of the “Green Stalk Agriculture Fund” to propel socially responsible food production models in the East Africa region by enhancing core food crop production and local value chains.

Rachel has served on Board of Aid Workers Network (AWN) and participates actively with a variety of African based non-profit organizations supporting women and children directly affected by conflict. Taking a special interest in helping combat the malnutrition of children, Zedeck is currently launching the Backpack Farm Foundation; to construct 10,000 school gardens to enhance the food sustainability and nutrition levels of Africa’s most vulnerable citizens.

She holds a Bachelors of Arts (International Relations) from George Mason University and a Master of Arts (International Security Studies) from the University of Bradford University in the United Kingdom. She has lectured at St. Andrews, Cambridge and United States International Universities as well a variety of online forums and commercial business groups. She regularly publishes her unique insights about the development of small landholder production models as well as extension and equity services designed to service the microfinance sector. She focuses her personal energies on publishing strategic analysis on Sudan on-going conflict and the of economic potential of the region while developing tailored analysis for organizations actively engaged or investing in Southern Sudan. Consequently, Medea Group has been recognized as a contributing partner to the Swiss Government’s think tank, the ISN.

In 2010, Rachel is scheduled to speak on a variety of topics surrounding Africa’s food security and social enterprise including Rotary Kenya, The Africa Network and American Women’s Association. In February, she was welcomed as the newest blogger on Beyond Profit (www.beyondprofit.com), a forum for global social enterprise discussing Africa’s farmers, food security and social inequities.