Posted on November 30, 2012 by Marcel Ricou, Program Officer
About 23 percent of Lesotho’s population is infected with HIV/AIDS, one of the highest prevalence rates in the world. In response, MCC has invested $122 million in health infrastructure and to strengthen Lesotho’s health systems. A major portion of the Health Sector Project focuses on rehabilitating 138 health centers across the country, all of which play a pivotal role in providing primary health care to local communities. MCC’s investments leverage those from other donor and U.S. Government programs, including the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Program officer Marcel Ricou shows us how MCC and the Government of Lesotho are working together to combat HIV/AIDS.
Posted on November 29, 2012 by Daniel W. Yohannes , Chief Executive Officer
As Secretary of State and as chair of MCC’s Board of Directors, Hillary Rodham Clinton has been a passionate advocate for results-focused, evidence-based foreign assistance. During her visit to MCC on Tuesday, Secretary Clinton credited MCC with being a development leader on results and accountability: "In this Administration under President Obama, we’ve tried to put forth a new policy on development that really focuses on results, and MCC has been one of the foundational institutions that has given us the base for moving forward.”
MCC staff and management were thrilled by the Secretary’s visit. As a great friend and admired mentor with whom I have collaborated closely on the Board, I was especially pleased to welcome Secretary Clinton to MCC. Her remarks and answers to questions emphasized the central role MCC plays in helping to shape and implement the U.S. Government’s international development strategy. Secretary Clinton said that MCC showcases “some of our best thinking about how to do development for the 21st century,” stating that “to maximize the impact of every dollar that we spend on development, we often turn to MCC for information and inspiration.”
MCC remains committed to challenging ourselves, testing the defining principles of our model, learning what works and does not work in development through data-driven evaluation practices, and sharing what we discover with other U.S. Government partners and the broader development community. In all these ways, MCC will continue to inform and inspire the way forward in development.
Posted on November 23, 2012 by Scott Fontaine, corporate copywriter-editor
Philibert Sebastian Margareth Ngaponda can point to the area where merchants will sell food and drinks, buses and cars will park, boda-bodas will queue, and taxis will line up to ferry passengers across the region.
But right now, this area is a vacant, unpaved lot off the Tanga-Horohoro road in northeastern Tanzania.
Clearly, Ngaponda has big dreams for his district.
“It will be a place of interaction between users of the road and the people of Mkinga,” he said about the bus stand he hopes to become an economic center of the area. “And where there is interaction, there are economic activities. That’s our hope. That’s our vision.”
Ngaponda is the executive director of Mkinga district, a rural area of about 118,000 people in Tanzania’s Tanga region. The area that will be the bus stand will receive an asphalt layer in November, allowing buses and merchants to set up shop soon after.
Ngaponda credits MCC with making this possible. The improvements to the Tanga-Horohoro road, a 65-kilometer highway that runs to the Kenyan border and completes the paved road corridor from Dar es Salaam to Mombasa, will bring more traffic to the region. And savings realized during implementation freed up funding to be spent on creating the 168,000-square-foot area for economic activity.
A 90-meter access road will be paved in November connecting the bus stand to the highway.
“We wouldn’t have been able to construct this on our own,” he said. “For this bus stand—and the future money it will bring in—we have MCC to thank.”
Posted on November 16, 2012 by Scott Fontaine, corporate copywriter-editor
When Ali Faki Abdalla first heard the proposal—that his mosque might be removed to make way for new power lines—he was adamantly opposed to the idea.
“I did not want to move,” he said. “But I listened to what they had to say. And when I heard what they wanted to do and how they would treat us, it changed my mind.”
Today the faithful of Masjid Raudhwa gather several hundred yards from the site of the old mosque, which was resettled as part of the $207 million Energy Sector Project of Tanzania’s MCC compact. The original site of the mosque fell within the foot print of the MCC-funded 132-kilovolt transmission line from Ras Fumba on the southwestern part of the island to Mtoni substation in the city.
The old mosque, made of plywood and metal sheets, could fit about 800 people. The new building, made of cinderblock, can hold up to 1,400 people—and the building is designed for future expansion.
Abdalla, the imam of Masjid Raudhwa, played a pivotal role in ensuring the successful movement of the mosque. Officials from the mosque, MCA-Tanzania, the Zanzibar Electricity Corporation, and the regional commissioner’s office met several times over the course of a week last year before reaching an agreement.
The imam said he was convinced by the way MCA-Tanzania approaches resettlement, especially a policy of no forced resettlements of houses of worship and a guarantee that a new mosque would be under construction and able to accommodate services before the old building was destroyed.
The importance of the Energy Sector Project—including the laying and installation of a submarine electric transmission cable from the mainland—to Zanzibar’s future also helped him reach his decision.
“I am sure the project will be good for the people of Zanzibar,” he said. “We are thankful for this new energy—and this new mosque.”
Posted on November 6, 2012 by Scott Fontaine , Corporate copywriter-editor
You have to know your audience.
Pretty much anyone who deals with shaping public opinion—whether they’re working on Madison Avenue or a weekly newspaper—understands that knowing your audience is crucial to capturing their attention and influencing their thinking.
The folks at MCA-Mozambique get this.
As part of a campaign to get the word out about the potential benefits of the Land Tenure Project, funded through Mozambique’s MCC compact, MCA-Mozambique is distributing thousands of capulanas, or printed fabric that women often use as clothing.
MCA-Mozambique ordered an initial run of 4,000 of the 1½-meter long pieces of fabric, which sport the logo of the MCA, the Mozambican national logo and a message promoting the project’s ability to help beneficiaries secure land. Women are wearing them as skirts, trimming them down to sport as headdresses or securing babies to their back with them.
The wraps encourage people to register their parcels of land and receive a legal title to their land, which can protect them from legal claims and protracted disputes with family and neighbors over rights to land.
Such advocacy-centered wraps aren’t uncommon. Politicians hand out the wraps adorned with their faces or the logo of their political party around election time. NGOs distribute them to get across a particular message, like encouraging people to seek an HIV test.
“It’s a good tool to deliver the message to women and young girls—and men too—that they will benefit if they register their land,” said Victor Nhatitima, MCA-Mozambique’s communications specialist.
MCA-Mozambique also plans to purchase another set of wraps for next year’s closeout; those wraps will sport the logos of MCC, MCA-Mozambique and the Government of Mozambique, highlighting this unique partnership and its benefits.
“We’re hoping people will keep this for a long period of time and spread the message,” Nhatitima said.