Poverty Reduction Blog Tag: Burkina Faso
Posted on September 17, 2014 by Cynthia Berning, Program Officer, Department of Compact Operations
World leaders will convene in New York for the United Nations General Assembly next week, and the Millennium Development Goals will be an important focus—looking at the progress that has been achieved and establishing a new agenda for development over the coming years. This is another in a series of blogs highlighting some of MCC’s contributions to supporting the MDGs. Read the first one here.
In many of MCC’s partner countries, economic growth is constrained by lack of access to and low quality of education. To help break down these barriers, MCC has worked with its partners to improve these sectors and to help them make progress toward achieving Millennium Development Goals 2 and 3: to ensure universal primary education and eliminate gender gaps in school.
MDGs 2 and 3 set ambitious targets for ensuring universal primary education and eliminating the gender gap in schools. Providing general education to children is fundamental to a country’s economic and social development. It is one of the most effective tools to reduce poverty, improve the status of women, strengthen family health, and enhance social stability. Improving education quality ensures students leave school with the skills necessary to become productive citizens. In many countries, however, education access remains a challenge, especially for girls.
Education yields strong economic and social benefits for girls and women. Consider this: providing girls one extra year of education beyond the average can boost eventual wages by up to 20 percent. Adolescence is a time of high risk and missed potential. The education of adolescent girls, especially post-primary, is a priority.
Since 2004, MCC has invested $454 million in nine countries in projects across the education spectrum—including primary education, vocational training, non-formal training, and graduate degree programs—to equip people with the knowledge and skills they need to obtain good jobs, establish their own businesses and increase their earning potential.
There are still millions of girls in rural areas around the world who aren’t able to go to primary school, but MCC has helped to significantly reduce that number in Burkina Faso, for example, providing thousands of children with the opportunity for a brighter future.
The recently completed BRIGHT II Schools Project built hundreds of new primary school classrooms and preschools in Burkina Faso’s rural areas where primary completion, especially among girls, has been low. Many Burkinabé girls drop out to get married or work around the house; some stay away because their school lacks private restrooms. Boys often leave school to work in the mines, and younger children miss school because of hunger or illness.
To address these gaps, encourage attendance and ensure that students are physically capable of learning and retaining their lessons, solutions such as school meals, take-home rations for girls, school kits, and textbooks were implemented. Parental and community interventions included adult literacy training for mothers, community information campaigns on the benefits of education, especially the education of girls, and community capacity building on the importance of sustaining educational assets.
Teachers also benefited through better school facilities including teacher housing, the recruitment of additional female teachers and gender sensitivity training. The project also built 264 private latrines, dug 10 boreholes and rehabilitated another seven boreholes to ensure all students have access to safe drinking water and are learning in an environment where they can practice good hygiene.
Posted on September 9, 2014 by Cynthia Berning, Program Officer, Department of Compact Operations
In September 2000, almost 200 countries announced their support for the United Nations Millennium Declaration, promising to help in the fight against poverty and hunger, strengthen access to education and improve health, including combating major diseases by 2015. MCC is one of several U.S. government agencies that help partner countries in their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and improve peoples’ lives.
When world leaders convene in New York for the United Nations General Assembly later this month, the MDGs will be a major focus—looking at the progress that has been achieved and establishing a new agenda for development over the coming years. This is the first in a series of blogs highlighting some of MCC’s contributions to supporting the MDGs in the lead-up to the United Nations General Assembly.
MDG 1 sets the target of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. Each MCC compact is designed to fight poverty, and many countries have made fighting hunger and food insecurity a priority of their relationship with MCC.
Since its creation in 2004, MCC has committed over $9 billion in programs designed to spur economic growth in 38 countries, and more than half of these investments have been in projects designed to reduce food insecurity. MCC has helped its partner countries improve agricultural productivity, gain greater access to markets and post-harvest facilities, boost agricultural finance, increase land tenure security, improve land governance and land administration and contribute to improved nutrition.
The effects of MCC’s poverty- and hunger-reducing efforts are evident in large-scale irrigation projects in Senegal, Burkina Faso and Mali. Through these investments, we have provided a reliable source of water for thousands of family farmers who are now able to grow irrigated rice and vegetables—even in the dry season and during periods of drought.
And it’s not just the delivery of water that makes these investments significant. The sustainability of these investments has also been assured through participatory land allocation activities that protect the land rights of existing land users and give farmers a voice in deciding who receives new land rights, and land registration activities that provide secure, well-documented rights to the newly irrigated land.
More secure rights allow them to invest more confidently in making their land more productive and to take the lead in managing shared resources effectively. Community participation in land allocation decisions increases transparency and accountability of leaders and improves local governance structures. These investments should lead to increased income for these farmers, helping them to farm their way to a better life for themselves and their families.
Read more about MCC’s efforts to increase food security in its partner countries.
Posted on June 23, 2014 by Scott Fontaine, Corporate Copywriter-Editor
MCC’s five-year compact with Burkina Faso ends on July 31. This story is part of a series of blogs and stories that highlights the accomplishments of this compact through the voices of the people who will benefit most from MCC’s investments in Burkina Faso. Read the stories and learn more about the Burkina Faso compact.
Aboubacari Tall has a different approach to raising his cattle.
His neighbors’ herds roam free, but Tall has built a wooden stable just outside his home in northern Burkina Faso.
His neighbors’ herds reproduce naturally, but Tall selects his best cows to undergo artificial insemination, producing a stronger herd.
And his neighbors’ cows feed on whatever grass they can find. Tall, however, wades into a nearby stream to uproot wild vegetation, dry it, and feed his cows on a schedule—a feed mixture for which he is the top contender in his region for a national award.
The hard work is paying off. While many other cows in the region sport loose skin and visible ribcages, Tall’s seven dairy cows are plump and appear healthy.
The difference, he said, is because MCC-funded agricultural agents taught him better ways to take care of his herd.
“Before, I did everything in the traditional way,” said Tall, a father of five children. “The cows just roamed in the fields behind my house. Now I’m using new techniques, and I’m making more money.”
Tall received training on improved livestock techniques as part of MCC’s five-year, $480.9 million compact with Burkina Faso. The $142 million Agriculture Development Project is helping Burkinabé better manage irrigation and water resources, diversify agriculture and improve access to rural finance.
Cattle breeders have already started seeing changes since the beginning of the project. Monitoring data indicates the average weight of their cows jumped from 213 pounds in 2008 to 549 pounds in 2013.
And because of the MCC-funded training, improved techniques and receiving a cow with better genetics, Tall is expecting more than double his daily milk production—a boost that would net Tall another $6 each day, he said.
Tall also collects the cow manure and sells it to his neighbors for fertilizer—a practice that has earned him almost $550 over the past 18 months.
Agricultural agents taught Tall the value of stabling a herd, investing in better feed and using selective breeding. The latter holds great promise for cattle producers in the region, said Stephane Tuina, a veterinarian who trains local farmers on behalf of MCC.
“Before this project, no one in the region knew about artificial insemination,” he said. “But it can be very effective, and people are beginning to learn. [Tall] is really setting the example for his community.”
And Tall’s neighbors are noticing. One of his cows recently gave birth to twins—traditionally a sign of good luck to come for Tall and his community.
Posted on June 23, 2014 by Scott Fontaine, Corporate Copywriter-Editor
MCC’s five-year compact with Burkina Faso ends on July 31. This story is part of a series of blogs and stories to be published during the month of June that highlights the accomplishments of this compact through the voices of the people who will benefit most from MCC’s investments in Burkina Faso. Read the stories and learn more about the Burkina Faso compact.
MCC helped Missita Déme build a henhouse behind her mud-brick home in northern Burkina Faso and trained her on better ways to raise chickens.
Her chickens grew bigger and stayed healthier. Her business grew, and she plowed the profits back into her poultry operation by investing in building separate housing for her chicks and a quarantine area for sick animals. Soon afterwards, she added a third henhouse—this one for chickens ready for sale.
“Life is better,” she said, “and I’m not done yet.”
Déme is an early success of the Agriculture Development Project, part of Burkina Faso’s $480.9 million compact with MCC, which focuses in part on helping livestock producers practice techniques that aim to increase value through improved animal husbandry techniques.
In the 20 months since Déme attended her first training, she has sold nearly 200 improved variety chickens. The hens are selling for as much as $4.25 each, while roosters are selling for more than $5.25.
In addition to her training, MCC provided an incentive kit containing cement for walls, roofing material, vaccinations against deadly Newcastle disease, and an improved-variety rooster. MCC initially planned to provide 350 such kits to producers from the area, but they proved so popular that the program was expanded to another 188 producers, said Stephane Tuina, a veterinarian who works on implementing the project.
Veterinarians and extension agents provide training on improved breeding and flock management, and they follow up in person to answer questions. The Burkinabé government’s animal resources agency will continue providing training after the compact ends in July.
“Since she started working [with chickens], the extra income has really helped support our family,” said Déme’s husband, Yacouba Sanogo, who helped his wife build the three houses. “We can pay bills more easily and really help our kids.”
The couple’s five children all attend school, and they have purchased bikes they can ride to classes each day. The couple recently purchased two sheep for breeding, and they want to plant more valuable crops on land they own outside their village. Additional revenue from her poultry operation also allows them to pay for a visit to a health clinic if a family member falls ill.
“Things are changing for us and our community,” she said. “We’re giving our children a better future.”
Posted on March 31, 2014 by Christopher Davis, Development specialist, Burkina Faso
Scents of onions, tomatoes and damp earth permeated the morning air as we spoke with representatives of women’s associations in the Dî Perimeter, one of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s principal investments in Burkina Faso. My colleagues and I were visiting the construction site to listen to community members who received their newly irrigated land last spring.
Located only a few miles from the country’s border with Mali and near the convergence of the Sourou and Mouhoun rivers, the village of Dî and its namesake 5,535-acre perimeter provide the region’s farmers with irrigation all year. In the past, most of these farmers could cultivate only during the rainy season. The women told us they were grateful to finally have the opportunity to farm land of their own.
“Before the MCC project, women [in this area] didn’t have the right to cultivate on their own land unless they were widows,” said Sayibata Ki, president of Association Benkadi No. 3. “We took care of the kids at home, prepared meals and had little work to do outside of market days. Now we can go out to farm our fields and make our own decisions about which part of our harvest we keep or sell.”
MCC's five-year, $481 million compact with Burkina Faso contains four projects: agriculture, roads, rural land governance, and education. In addition to the irrigation of the Dî Perimeter, the compact’s $141.9 million Agriculture Development Project is working with the Burkinabe to improve water management, diversified agriculture and access to rural finance.
An estimated 4,500 farmers and their families in Dî are expected to be working in the perimeter by the time the compact ends in July, and the trip gave us an opportunity to talk personally with some of them following their first growing season. Preliminary reports indicate that farmers harvested more than 1,800 acres of corn, soybeans and other legumes on the land on which construction had already been completed.
The project included a strong focus on ensuring benefits reach local women, who are often not recognized as landholders and are therefore last in line to receive land security. More than 130 agricultural associations are receiving land in the Dî Perimeter, composed entirely of women and youth from neighboring communities. Each cooperative member receives a plot of about one-tenth of an acre; last year, more than 2,000 individuals formed organizations to be eligible to receive the land.
Cooperative members are receiving kits containing tools, seeds and fertilizers. MCC is also funding trainings on how to plant and apply fertilizers to maximize yields, efficient irrigation methods and ways to increase soil fertility.
Most of the cooperative members are learning these techniques for the first time.
“We were taught how to make compost in our courtyards with things we can easily find around our village,” Ki said. “I give my children a bit of money to go and search for the supplies and then I use the compost on my land. It is much cheaper than buying fertilizer.”
The association members dug canals to deliver water directly to their parcels and learned that they would manage water resources that feed their canals.
“Mastering the irrigation schedule and working well together was very difficult in the beginning,” said Elisabethe Tiama, a member of the Hérakaura cooperative. “[MCA-Burkina Faso contractors] helped us to get organized and we were able to set a five-day watering calendar based on the rotation of the village markets. They also showed us the best ways to grow our corn and onions.”
All of the farmers we spoke with said they were pleased with their yields and looking forward to harvesting the lucrative dry-season cash crops they planted a couple of months ago. I was most impressed with the initiative and ingenuity some of these entrepreneurs exhibited, quickly solving problems and adapting to a more formal and communal irrigation schedule.
By April 2014, these businesswomen will be joined by their neighbors from throughout the region as the full 5,535 acres are delivered to beneficiaries. Additional plots of land will be distributed via a lottery before then.
Ki can’t wait.
“My husband and I both put our names into the land lottery,” she said. “We are ready for more farmland!”
Posted on March 6, 2014 by Cassandra Q. Butts, Senior Advisor
Gender is one of MCC’s top priorities and for good reason. Creating better opportunities for women and girls is not only the right thing to do—a core value we share with our partner countries across the globe—but also because inequality can stifle a country’s fight to lift its people out of poverty.
My role at MCC is in part to prioritize MCC's gender work to ensure that women and men are equal beneficiaries at the forefront of our approach to development.
On March 8—International Women’s Day—MCC is partnering with Devex and other development leaders on a month-long campaign called She Builds that highlights the role women play in building communities, economies, innovations, and the future.
Together, we will unveil a series of stories and videos of women who have seen their lives change through gender inclusion projects, as well as profiles and interviews of female Millennium Challenge Account CEOs who are leading the charge in implementing MCC-funded programs. From Burkina Faso and Cabo Verde to the Philippines and beyond, these stories will describe how our partnerships are making a positive impact across the world.
We’re also excited about our participation in the White House Council on Women and Girls’ celebration of Women’s History Month, which will highlight some of our achievements in ensuring women and girls benefit from our projects.
But that’s not all. Today, MCC is presenting the latest issue of Milestones, which focuses on our approach to gender. And later this month, I will be sharing my experiences from a recent trip to Malawi.
MCC’s gender investments are paying off, and I am proud of the strides we have made toward greater gender equality. Together with our partner countries, we are helping ensure a better future for all by standing up for women and girls.
Keep checking mcc.gov throughout March to read more about MCC’s progress on advancing gender equality.
Posted on October 11, 2013 by Cassandra Butts, Senior Advisor
In Burkina Faso, girls will celebrate the second annual International Day of the Girl Child by attending school thanks to a groundbreaking investment by the Millennium Challenge Corporation in the BRIGHT (Burkinabe Response to Improve Girls’ Chances to Succeed) program. The United Nations determined that this year’s day will focus on “Innovating for Girls Education,” and innovation is at the heart of the BRIGHT program.
To improve educational outcomes for all children in rural villages with low school enrollments, particularly girls, the BRIGHT program was implemented in 132 rural villages throughout Burkina Faso. Each village received primary school construction and an innovative suite of complementary interventions for students, parents and teachers to encourage school attendance and enhance educational environments.
For students, the interventions included school meals, take-home rations for girls, school kits, and textbooks. Parental and community interventions included adult literacy training for mothers, community information campaigns on the benefits of education, especially the education of girls, and community capacity building on the importance of sustaining educational assets. Teachers also benefited through better school facilities including teacher housing, the recruitment of additional female teachers and gender sensitivity training.
The evidence shows that the BRIGHT program’s innovation is producing results. A recent analysis of the program published by economists Harounan Kazianga, Dan Levy, Leigh L. Linden, and Matt Sloan in the July 2013 issue of American Economic Journal: Applied Economics found that the BRIGHT program increased enrollment by 19 percentage points and increased test scores by 0.41 after 2.5 years. The findings also identified BRIGHT success in targeting girls for enrollment, with an increase of 5 percentage points more than boys. And when comparing the BRIGHT “girl friendly” interventions to a regular school, the findings identified an increase in enrollment of 13 percentage points above a regular school’s effect.
Achieving results is at the core of MCC’s model, and the results of this independent analysis are consistent with what we see on the ground. The BRIGHT program is changing the lives of communities, families and girl children throughout Burkina Faso.
Aisattou Hamidou Diallo and Fatimata Yanta (pictured) are two such girl children who participated in the BRIGHT program and came to Washington, DC in 2011 to share their stories of challenge and achievement. The many memories of their visit include meeting First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House to celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. Aisattou and Fatimata have gone on to secondary school, where they continue to achieve and build on their BRIGHT experience.
Results like these should be celebrated every day and particularly on the International Day of the Girl Child.
Posted on August 3, 2012 by Molly Glenn, Deputy Resident Country Director
This June, I traveled to Pissila, in the Sanmatega province of Burkina Faso. I was there to attend the closing ceremony for the Burkinabé Response to Improve Girls’ Chances to Succeed (BRIGHT) II Project, funded through the MCC compact with Burkina Faso. Speaking with students, teachers and parents participating in the BRIGHT II Project, I truly experienced firsthand the benefits of MCC’s investment.
The BRIGHT program is a collaborative effort of the United States and Burkina Faso to improve rates of children’s primary school attendance, completion, and promotion to secondary schools. To date, the program, including work performed under the MCC compact, has educated over 27,000 students, including 16,000 girls, and has built 132 primary schools across 10 provinces. The numbers are impressive—but they don’t tell the whole story.
In Pissila, the success and visibility of the BRIGHT program was evident from the high-level participation at the well-attended closing ceremony. The Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, Luc Adolphe Tiao; the Minister of Education and Literacy, Koumba Boly; and U.S. Ambassador Thomas Dougherty were all on hand to share in the celebration. Officials from MCC, USAID, and Plan International were also present. The stars of the show, however, were the 500 students from the BRIGHT school of Pissila, who were as proud as could be to show off their school and accomplishments.
We arrived early on Thursday morning to enthusiastic cheers and waves from students of all ages. Three large tents were set up at the center of the school, flanked by new classrooms, offices and teacher housing. Boys and girls, waving American and Burkinabé flags and proudly wearing their school shirts displaying the BRIGHT II emblem, greeted the prime minister and U.S. ambassador as they arrived. The atmosphere radiated with excitement and joy; students and teachers alike were proud that their school had been selected to host such an event.
The moving speeches and lively performances diverted our attention from the hot Burkina Faso sun and 100+ degree temperatures. Enthralling music and traditional dances had the whole crowd applauding, especially for the youngest dancer in a local troupe who was able to shake the prime minister’s hand. Later, Celia Ella Kafando, a fifth-grader, courageously took to the podium to make a speech on behalf of the students of Pissila.
Though her head barely reached the top of the podium, Celia spoke with a clear and strong voice, thanking MCC and the American people for building her school. To the visible enjoyment of the prime minister, the education minister (one of Burkina Faso’s two female ministers) and the region’s governor (also a woman), Celia shared that many of her fellow students aspired to become governors and ministers thanks to their education. Everyone smiled when the prime minister and education minister were given the “key” to the school, a beautiful, symbolic oversized key made by Burkinabe bronze workers.
The prime minister’s speech was unexpectedly touching and honest. Speaking directly to the students, he admitted that school was not always easy, recognizing that most of them had to move away from home, learn a new language (though French is the official language, over 60 languages are spoken in Burkina Faso) and—perhaps the most universal problem of all—wake up early to get to class. He encouraged the students not to give up and to follow their dreams. Ambassador Dougherty echoed these sentiments in his speech, stating, “We hope each and every BRIGHT school graduate will have success in realizing their potential in the years to come.”
Though two more years remain until the compact’s end, it was encouraging to see such a successful closeout of this project. The Government of Burkina Faso has pledged to maintain the schools and remain committed to supporting girls’ education. In the words of Prime Minister Tiao, “The American people can trust us. We will take care to meet the challenges of underdevelopment.”
For more information about the Burkina Faso Compact, visit www.mcc.gov/burkinafaso.
Posted on March 8, 2011 by Cassandra Butts, Senior Advisor
Today we celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. Here at MCC, we’re using the occasion to continue to put a spotlight on the need for a focus on gender equality in global development efforts.
We are proud of the positive feedback we have received on MCC’s gender policy work, and today we release a paper in which Virginia Seitz, our lead expert on gender and social assessment, outlines some of operational lessons we’ve learned integrating gender into our programs. It’s recommended reading for anyone interested in making sure women and men have equal access to the tools of economic growth. You can read it here.
This is also a big week for two young girls from rural Burkina Faso. MCC is hosting Aissatou Hamidou Diallo and Fatimata Yanta, students who participate in the MCC-funded BRIGHT school program in Burkina. The BRIGHT program has given these girls an opportunity for an education, and they’re making the most of it; they are both at the top of their class. Aissatou and Fatimata were invited to be honored guests at a White House reception hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama celebrating the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. It is our hope that this experience allows them to build lasting understandings of the essential role of girls’ education in fighting poverty and contributing to economic growth and inspires them to keep up their good work in the classroom.
This Thursday, Aissatou and Fatimata along with Madame Madeline Sorgo â€“ a Burkina educator and board member of the Burkina Millennium Challenge Account â€“ will also join our CEO, Daniel Yohannes, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and U.S. Representative Nita Lowey at an event on Capitol Hill. It will feature remarks from Mr. Yohannes, Senator Cardin and Rep. Lowey and a panel discussion on the importance of gender equality to our development efforts. If you are in the Washington area, please feel free to attend. The event is at 12 p.m. this Thursday, March 10, in Room 325 of the Russell Senate Office Building. Follow this link to RSVP.
Check back on this blog and on MCC’s Facebook page for photos from this week’s events.
Posted on December 9, 2010 by Jolyne Sanjak, Managing Director, Technical Support
In 2010, MCC made significant progress in implementing its Fraud and Anti-Corruption Policy and procedures to prevent, detect and remediate fraud and corruption in MCC-funded activities. Today, International Anti-Corruption Day, is a time to review progress made in 2010 and determine where MCC is headed in 2011.
In 2010, MCC rolled out a new training course to assist Millennium Challenge Account entities (MCAs) in effectively understanding MCC’s policy and their role as our partners in fighting fraud and corruption. The course trains MCAs in methods for recognizing corrupt acts, protecting the Compact against risks of fraud, and reporting wrongdoing. The training is mandatory for all MCAs and MCA staff. MCAs in Lesotho, Namibia, Tanzania and Senegal have already received this training; Mali, Mongolia and Morocco are slated for January and February 2011.
As part of a comprehensive, consistent and explicit approach to preventing, detecting and remediating fraud and corruption, MCC’s policy requires that the MCAs put in place project-specific Action Plans to reduce risk. The Action Plans detail project-appropriate methods and mechanisms by which the MCA will manage risks of corruption; each plan includes a detailed timetable and monitoring strategy. These Action Plans are also made public in accordance with MCC’s policy of transparency and accountability. An example of an Action Plan can be found on the MCA Burkina Faso web site. Others will be posted as the Action Plans are finalized and approved.
Corruption is difficult to eradicate. With commitment and perseverance, however, MCC and its partner countries can control and reduce the threat of corruption to achieving Compact goals of sustainable development, poverty reduction and economic growth. International Anti-Corruption Day reminds us that we can achieve this goal by working together with renewed resolve.
Posted on November 2, 2010 by Nthati Moorosi, MCA-Lesotho Public Outreach Director
After visiting MCA-Lesotho in April 2010, MCA-Burkina Faso National Coordinator, Bissiri Joseph Sirima, invited the MCA-Lesotho Human Resources Officer, Teboho Mahloane, and me to visit MCA-Burkina Faso to discuss ways to expand the role of communications and share expertise in human resources management. By increasing capacity in these areas and sharing our experiences, our countries are hoping to enhance both the transparency and the efficiency with which we implement our respective MCC compacts. Mr. Sirima visited MCA-Lesotho because it had good practices to share regarding implementation, particularly with regard to human resource management and tools for public outreach activities. He was accompanied by the MCC Burkina Faso Resident Country Director, Kateri Clement.
From May 17 to 28, we visited Burkina Faso to work with MCA-Burkina Faso’s project managers and directors, helping them to identify their public outreach needs and develop strategies to meet those needs. I shared tools for strengthening intra-MCA communications and public outreach coordination, creating a branding manual, and developing standard protocols for public communications.
As I have learned in Lesotho, not only does public outreach need to be budgeted for and conceptualized at an early stage but also it is equally important to integrate public outreach into each of the compact projects so that public buy-in and support can be secured well in advance of project implementation. The success of a compact’s projects depends on the constant coordination of strategic communication with the public across the whole spectrum of MCA activities.
In addition, we worked closely on human resource management issues. The collaboration resulted in the adoption of a four-pronged work plan to address human resources issues within MCA-Burkina Faso. The plan addressed performance management, human resource rules and regulations, training and development, and administration. Each of the tools shared were customized to complement the context in which they will be used.
This experience has contributed positively to capacity building on both sides, and could not have come at a better time for MCA-Burkina Faso, which is still refining its human resources policies and management systems.
In addition to sharing human resource expertise and MCA-Lesotho’s public outreach best practices, we observed and learned from MCA-Burkina Faso’s dedicated team. MCA-Lesotho and MCA-Burkina Faso will be stronger and more efficient in fulfilling their roles, which are critical to the success of individual projects and the two countries’ respective MCC compacts. The collaboration between the two MCAs was in the spirit of comradery, through which I believe various MCA teams can share experiences and knowledge in order to contribute to the success of the broader MCC goal of reducing poverty through sustainable economic growth.
Ultimately, poverty reduction demands a global response among friends. I am proud to be at the heart of these conversations that have introduced new ideas and helped forge new friendships among colleagues who are working to build a better future for our countries.
Posted on March 22, 2010 by Omar Hopkins, P.D., Associate Director for Infrastructure
When World Water Day was first celebrated in 1993, some 5.3 billion people lived on the planet. Of these, 512 million lived in sub-Saharan Africa, where only 49 and 26 percent, respectively, had access to an improved water source and sanitation facility. Today, on the seventeenth World Water Day, the global population includes 6.7 billion people, of whom 818 million live in sub-Saharan Africa, where 58 and 31 percent, respectively, now have access to water supply and sanitation services. This is a moment to celebrate the additional 223 million sub-Saharan Africans who have access to a water supply and the 120 million who now can access sanitation, but we should also focus on the continuing low rates of access. While tremendous accomplishments have been made, a great deal of work remains undone. Given the tremendous unmet demand for water supply and sanitation, what is being done to facilitate change and accelerate the rate at which these critical services are provided to a billion or so people globally who lack these critical services? A difficult problem like this requires innovation, experimentation, and a willingness to take risks to find better solutions. MCC was created as a new approach to development assistance: a firm five-year window for implementation, full commitment of the funds upon compact signing, untied assistance, and host country ownership, including proposal development and implementation. This approach reflects the best thinking about development assistance, as articulated in the Paris Declaration. In this, MCCs seventh year, we are looking at some important lessons learned, like carefully integrating social and environmental factors into project design and implementation, identifying innovative contracting approaches that accelerate the project life cycle without sacrificing quality, and promoting private sector participation. MCC works closely with partner countries to identify high value water supply and sanitation projects and water resource management and productivity projects that respond to the countries development priorities. MCC programs in Lesotho, Mozambique, and Tanzania include MCCs three largest water supply and sanitation projects, covering rural and urban water and sanitation, non-revenue water management, and source development. In addition, Mali, Burkina Faso, Armenia, Senegal, and Moldova are pursuing major irrigation and water resource management projects. To date, MCC programs have funded approximately $528 million in water supply and sanitation and $769 million in water resource management and irrigation. MCC partnered with the Government of Mozambique to target a traditionally underserved area: water and sanitation investments in urban areas and small towns. Secondary urban areas are particularly difficult environments in which to build sustainable water supply and sanitation systems because, by definition, they lack economies of scale, are more remote, have higher costs, have difficulty attracting and retaining staff, and are typically less affluent—all of which have negative implications for sustainability. Yet, a majority of world population growth will occur in urban areas and much of that will occur in these secondary urban areas. Addressing the projected water supply and sanitation needs of these communities will be one of the sectors most pressing challenges in the coming decades. In advancing MCC’s mission of global poverty reduction through economic growth, we will continue to work with partners committed to expanding access to water and sanitation.
Posted on March 4, 2010 by Jason Bauer, Director of Private Sector Initiatives
This week more than 167 companies attended a procurement conference and heard about contracting opportunities arising from projects funded by Millennium Challenge Corporation compacts. Supported by Business Unity South Africa, Standard Bank, and the U.S. Embassy, the conference was hosted at the Development Bank of Southern Africa in Midrand, South Africa. Country teams from Burkina Faso, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Tanzania discussed over $3 billion in procurement opportunities, ranging from building roads and water systems to building health centers and schools. The compact in Ghana and compacts still being developed with the governments of Malawi and Zambia were also discussed.
The conference highlighted the business opportunities that ultimately support MCC’s mission of reducing poverty through economic growth. The conferences key themes included the openness and transparency of the procurement processes, the ability for international companies to bid on compact projects and the unique opportunities for U.S. and international suppliers.
Companies attending the conference included those focusing on infrastructure engineering, design, and construction, as well as those providing project management and technical assistance. The resounding message: MCC partner countries throughout Africa are open for business.
Posted on February 11, 2010 by Molly Glenn, Deputy Resident Country Director, Burkina Faso
On Friday, January 29, 2010, I had the privilege of attending a launching ceremony in the town of Sabou with the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, senior government and local officials, the MCC Resident Country Mission, dedicated members of the MCA Board, hundreds of residents of the Sabou Commune, and the senior management team of MCA-Burkina Faso, which is in charge of implementing Burkina Faso’s $481 million MCC compact. The event was vibrant and animated, filled with pertinent skits and musical interludes. Even though we were just an hour south of Ouagadougou, it felt like we were a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the capital city and were truly in the heart of Burkina Faso. The town of Sabou, its residents, and MCA animated the countryside with a truly inspiring and motivating ceremony.
The event marks the start of on-the-ground field activities for two components of the Burkina Faso compact: feasibility studies for the 270 kilometers of primary roads to be constructed under the Roads project and the communication and education campaign surrounding the new national land law and regulations in 17 pilot communes under the Rural Land Governance project. With the complexity and intensity of the demands and deadlines revolving around projects of this size and scope, we often get caught up in Ouagadougou with meetings, workshops, project planning, financial number crunching, and all the necessary management responsibilities. When we stop and take the time to go to the field to visit with program participants, we see firsthand the excitement on their faces about the transformation of their future. We realize just where the real energy is with this compact.
The ceremony was filled with information, speeches, gratitude, theater, and music. It was a perfect mix of formal and informal, ceremonial and artistic, and cultural and educational. Information booths were filled with explanatory visuals and maps of project activities. Experts were on hand to explain the components: roads to be constructed, land conflict resolution techniques, decentralized administrative buildings to be constructed, and other aspects.
The skits were dynamic and filled with appropriate humor on the sensitive subject of land tenure. Even with my extremely limited knowledge of Moor_, one of the local languages of Burkina Faso, it was evident that the audience absorbed from the skits that land laws, regulations, and tools are now in place in Burkina Faso to clarify ambiguous land use situations, such as those between cattle herders and farmers. The theater troupe was able to infuse a touch of comedy into a serious subject and provide the audience with a glimpse into the land conflict resolution mechanisms and positive outcomes that will be possible through the Rural Land Governance project.
The official speeches were inspirational, expressing thanks to the American people and MCC, an understanding of the challenges ahead, and a clear message from the Government of Burkina Faso via Minister Laurent Sédogo from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Water Resources, who said that the MCC compact, will bring about dynamic change, will require a rigorous pace of implementation, and will change the lives of Burkina Fasos disenfranchised, including women.
Posted on August 3, 2009 by Kateri Clement, Resident Country Director
Today, Burkina Faso took a great step forward. Its $480.9 million, five-year Compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to reduce poverty through economic growth has entered into force (EIF), meaning that the five-year clock to implement the grant has officially begun. For over a year, the Government of Burkina Faso has been tremendously busy preparing for this moment. The entity in charge of implementing the Compact—Millennium Challenge Account-Burkina Faso (MCA-Burkina Faso—has already created a strong foundation for achieving Compact success.
The four Compact-funded projects continue to progress at an impressive rate. For the Rural Land Governance Project, project analysts are working on baseline data collection on land conflict and land tenure security, to enable monitoring of project performance. The Parliament of Burkina Faso also has passed a new rural land tenure law (Loi Portant Régime Foncier Rural), which is a critical step in Burkina’s land tenure reform process. For the Roads Project, contracts are being signed this week for project management, technical assistance, and environmental and social assessments for the longest road segment funded by the Compact. For the Agriculture Development Project, the management audit of the Sourou Valley Development Authority is complete, and the Ministry of Agriculture is now developing an action plan to address the findings of the audit. The action plan will then be implemented by the development authority. Burkina Faso also has completed Phase One of the BRIGHT 2 Project, a girls education program designed as a 3-year continuation of the highly successful Bright Threshold Program.
The EIF event culminates a week of activities, including a televised roundtable panel with other MCA CEOs from Mali and Benin, who were visiting Burkina Faso. These CEOs discussed their experiences and shared best practices and lessons learned in implementing MCC poverty reduction grants in their countries. It was fascinating to hear examples of the good work MCC partner countries are doing, and the people we are affecting in meaningful ways around the world. It was also heartening to receive advice from the CEOs of Mali and Benin, who are both several years ahead of Burkina Faso on Compact implementation.
On July 30th, MCA-Burkina Faso also unveiled its new logowith symbols representing all four Compact projects as well as the important partnership between Burkina Faso and the United States. This partnership was emphasized by the American Embassys Charg_ dAffaires, Mr. Samuel C. Laeuchli, at a dinner at my house on July 30th. At the dinner, Mr. Laeuchli toasted MCAs success and highlighted that the staff of MCA are the ones who are truly implementing these important projects to reduce poverty in their country, with Americas support and funding. On Thursday, MCC and MCA also signed an Implementing Entity Agreement with the Ministry of Environment, one of eight important agreements with Government of Burkina Faso ministries which spells out the terms of collaboration. On Friday, there was an event at the Ministry of Finance, where the Charg_ dAffaires, MCC Deputy Vice President Jonathan Bloom, and the Ministry of Finance exchanged letters signifying that both countries had met all of the requirements in the Compact and were now ready to enter into force.
Finally, a highlight of the week was a televised meeting with the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso on July 31st. The Prime Minister is very enthusiastic about the Burkina Faso Compact and is confident that it will make a significant difference in the lives of the poor here in Burkina. I am proud to be working alongside my Burkinabe colleagues and friends, whose commitment to the fight against poverty is an inspiration. The partnership between MCC and Burkina Faso reflects a shared commitment to winning the fight against poverty and creating sustainable opportunities for economic growth that will improve the lives of Burkinabe. Now, the clock is ticking as we chart further progress ahead.
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