Poverty Reduction Blog Tag: Mcc
Posted on December 1, 2014 by Alicia Phillips Mandaville, Chief Strategy Officer, and Cindy Y. Huang, Deputy Vice President for Sector Operations
At MCC, we are active in our commitment to open data and transparency. As you know, over the years we’ve worked hard to improve our practices in these areas. We continuously work to improve the data we share. We have been steadily releasing the data behind our independent evaluations. And we’re sponsoring our first Open Data Challenge to encourage people to use it!
In the process of doing all this, we learned that collecting, using and sharing data is not always easy. It requires political will, resourcing and creativity to overcome the inevitable legal and technical obstacles. Despite the challenges, we remain committed to doing business openly and transparently. At MCC, we don’t do it just because it’s “the right thing to do.” We do it because we believe it improves the quality of our work and because it promotes learning about what works in development.
Today, Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced a new partnership between MCC and the U.S. State Department’s Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, the office responsible for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Working with stakeholders in partner countries, we will build country-driven local data hubs that increase transparency and accountability. We look forward to using all the lessons we learned in our own work to support PEPFAR as they continue to improve their use of data to increase the impact of their programs. The most exciting part of this partnership is the chance for PEPFAR and MCC to work together in a few countries so that country partners and civil society can be as involved in and excited about using data as we are.
Since the Secretary General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development released its report, A World That Counts, in early November, there’s been a lot of buzz around the transformative power of data for development. However, a lot must happen before this power can be truly harnessed. Not only must more and better data be made open and accessible, but we also must involve people in using it to create positive change.
That’s what we will do together with PEPFAR through creating local data hubs in a few partner countries. These hubs will be places where data on health and other areas critical to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, such as economic development and gender, will be collected, curated, and made more accessible. They will also be vibrant meeting places that encourage ongoing collaboration between public sector, civil society and private sector groups who use the data.
We’re thrilled to join with PEPFAR and offer our expertise so that together we can do our part to drive the data revolution.
- Fact Sheet: MCC and PEPFAR partner to create local data hubs
- Press Release: MCC and PEPFAR partner to transform country assistance programs
Posted on October 14, 2014 by Catherine Marschner, MCC Data Program Manager
What is data?
Data is raw information. When you collect all kinds of data on all kinds of different things, you can put it together to provide reliable information. This structured data can help partner country governments plan the best use of their resources, and it can help the people hold their governments accountable.
Collecting data in a standardized way makes the data even more reliable. In the case of foreign assistance, it leads to transparency, which is a priority for MCC.
So what have we done about it?
Our data team at MCC has worked hard over the last year to improve the quality of the data we share with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), an international registry that tracks the level of transparency in stakeholder-produced data on foreign aid. We have also made our efforts to produce data more efficient and sustainable. So while we are certainly proud to have been ranked among the top three donors in the 2014 Aid Transparency Index, we are even more proud—and committed to—the substantive improvements we have made and continue to make.
The quality of our data is better because we have added new data and functionality to our programmatic management information system and we’ve added detail for a number of IATI data fields: In our XML file users will find useful information now on
- planned disbursements by year for our compact programs,
- descriptions of our programs and their associated activities,
- and on the results of our work.
In fact, MCC’s data on performance was higher than any other donor ranked in the ATI – in part because we provide results descriptions, performance indicators and links to materials from our independent evaluations.
MCC has also built a more streamlined process for producing our data. We have an integrated team with expertise on the policy, data analysis, finance and technical sides. We also have an ability to pull data from different systems in order to build out an integrated data set in XML that meets the reporting requirements of both the Foreign Assistance Dashboard and IATI.
As we continue to build out our internal data systems, we are paying careful attention to how we link different pieces together. For example, our IATI file this year includes links back to our Evaluation Catalog, where MCC makes all the metadata and microdata from our independent evaluations freely available to the public.
All these strides forward have netted a dataset with a lot of richness – and some very interesting and high quality data! Yet at MCC, we also realized that it was not enough to just put this out there in XML: a format that is far from “human-readable.” Our team knew that for our efforts to become sustainable, we also needed to create an internal demand for this kind of data from our own staff. So we built a tool that visualizes the data so that MCC staff can use it to help them in their everyday work. The response has been enthusiastic so far, and we look forward to building additional analytical components, learning about staff demand, and reporting back on what we are learning!
We would love for all of these efforts to become more demand driven – so we welcome your thoughts and feedback on what we ought to prioritize as we strive to continually improve the quality and quantity of information MCC makes available to the public.
Posted on October 10, 2014 by Tom Kelly, Acting Vice President for Policy and Evaluation
At this time each year, with the announcement of the results of the Aid Transparency Index (ATI), major aid donors all over the world await their relative rankings from Publish What You Fund’s careful exercise to evaluate the quality of information provided to the International Aid Transparency Index (IATI). In this regard MCC is no different. Having ranked #1 in the world in the 2013 Index, we were in the enviable position this year of having no place to go but down!
Because MCC values transparency, we spent the last year making careful improvements to our IATI data. We also worked closely with the State Department’s Foreign Assistance Dashboard to develop a USG XML format based on the IATI standard allowing MCC’s higher quality data to be published to the IATI Registry. We worked alongside other donors to try to figure out how IATI data can be linked with country budget information. We published our own IATI implementation schedule to inform our data users about our data definitions and future publication plans. And we put lots of time and thought into how to best represent our results within the IATI data standard. Because of all these efforts – and in spite of fierce competition – MCC was able to score above 85% and remain among the top three donors worldwide. It hasn’t been easy, and we are proud of this.
Yet as the ATI comes out in its 4th year in 2014, we are surveying the broader landscape and are concerned about the performance of the donor community as a whole. We are concerned that so many donors will fall far short of their Busan commitments, and concerned that data quality will therefore not improve to a point where country partners will find it useful. Among 68 donors ranked, only 15 score in the “good” and “very good” category. The average score in the Index this year is only 39%. Clearly, major progress will have to be made by the end of 2015 to deliver on the promises of Busan.
In this context, people ask us all the time what’s the way forward? Setting aside some peculiarities that make it easier for MCC to do this (as a young, small agency with transparency in our DNA), here are a few of the things we have found most useful:
- Demonstrate political will and leadership on transparency at all levels – so staff are incentivized to work hard at solving the multitude of problems that will inevitably come up;
- Give a strong mandate to a small team that includes policy, data analyst, technical and finance staff – so that together they can resolve most of the issues and tee up the important points effectively for senior staff decisions;
- Don’t try to build a single system to meet IATI reporting requirements – instead develop a strategy for continual progress. Think through how you can pull data for each of the required fields from existing systems, and use your tech people to link them up into your XML output. Start with the fields where you already collect information and work steadily on improving quality of this data. Then make plans to do what’s required to collect and report on additional information over time;
- Keep talking to stakeholders and data users to better understand – and to stimulate – demand; and finally…
- Open up your data to your own staff – leverage IATI efforts to build more robust internal systems to share and use data. As staff see the benefits to their own work, support for the work of data teams will grow, and internal demand will make the system sustainable.
MCC will soon be launching a Principles into Practice paper detailing these and other lessons from our work on transparency and accountability. We hope many of you will join us in upcoming conversations so that we can learn together how to move this field of practice forward. We believe that it is possible for donors worldwide to jump forward in 2015, and we look forward to doing our part to help to drive the broader agenda for transparency.
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 16, 2014 by Jennifer Sturdy and Jack Molyneaux, Department of Policy and Evaluation, and Kathy Farley and Kristin Penn, Department of Compact Operations
MCC has just announced its first Open Data Challenge - the call-to-action to any masters and PhD students working in economics, public policy, international development, or other related fields who are interested in exploring how to use publicly available MCC-financed primary data for policy-relevant analysis.
The release of this data is intended to facilitate broader use of the data, above and beyond the scope of the independent evaluations that produced this data. Since the challenge was announced at the end of August, one question to MCC has been – what type of additional learning is the agency interested in?
During the release of MCC’s first five impact evaluations in farmer training, there was a lot of learning and soul searching going on within the agency. Sure, some of the evaluations pointed to positive, expected results, like increases in farm incomes in the El Salvador dairy, Ghana northern farmers’, and Nicaragua farmer training programs, but there were a lot of unexpected results as well. Why didn’t we see increases in farm income in Armenia? What were unique characteristics of farmers selected for training in Honduras? What led to the differential impacts in Ghana? And, the big question, why weren’t the increases in farm income leading to observable increases in household income?
With this in mind, the MCC agriculture team took some time to ask themselves what additional learning they would have liked to see beyond what was analyzed in the independent evaluations. There were three broad categories of additional potential learning:
Understand better what led to observable, realistic impacts. For example, in Ghana the team was left asking:
- Why were impacts positive in the North, while negative overall – was this related to the differing agro-climatic context? Did impacts differ by crop type? Was this a measurement or a timing of measurement problem?
Understand better what led to observable, counter-intuitive impacts. In some of the evaluations, the evaluators found counter-intuitive impacts. For example, in Ghana:
- In the North, crop incomes were up by 78 percent, land under cultivation was up by 32percent, yet there was no significant increase in yields. How is that possible? Did treatment farmers plant a different mix of (higher value) crops than control?
Understand better the impacts on project implementation, secondary outcomes, and positive/negative externalities. In many cases, analysis was limited to the primary evaluation questions and outcomes agreed to for the purpose of the evaluation. However, the initial analysis produced from the evaluations resulted in many questions that could possibly be answered by further analysis of the same data. For example, in Honduras:
- The evaluator makes a strong case that the farmers selected for the program were fundamentally different from the ‘average’ farmer that would have been selected following a random selection process. Additional analysis on who these treatment farmers were and how they differ from the average farmer, and certainly farmers living in the comparison areas where farmer training was not made available, would be useful for understanding and interpreting results of the evaluation.
In all of these evaluations, MCC also recognized the need to explore:
- Gender disaggregated impacts. Many of these evaluations were designed prior to MCC’s policy to require gender and other relevant disaggregation data and impacts. Can the available data be used to produce gender disaggregated impacts in Armenia, El Salvador, Ghana, or Nicaragua?
- Assets and Investments. While overall household incomes did not increase, is the available data able to demonstrate whether or not households increased investments in assets or other investments during the evaluation period?
While the learning from these evaluations cannot be undervalued, MCC is eager to fully explore the potential for more learning from the existing data produced by these evaluations to answer outstanding questions on how to design more effective agricultural investments and improve evaluation of these investments. We hope the Open Data Challenge is one way to motivate external researchers to use available resources to start answering these questions.
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 28, 2014 by Michelle Adato, Director, Social and Gender Assessment, Department of Compact Operations
MCC is marking World Water Day with a blog series on our investments in the delivery of clean water, effective sanitation services and long-term solutions that help build economic growth. This is the seventh and final blog in the series.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation’s $354.7 million compact in Zambia will build water, sanitation and drainage infrastructure in greater Lusaka’s poor communities. The challenge, though, is ensuring that the projected benefits reach the poor. Recognizing that this means addressing the complex social dimensions in those vulnerable communities, MCC is putting great effort and resources into a holistic approach to these projects.
MCC’s Lusaka Water Supply, Sanitation, and Drainage (LWSSD) project must address not only the engineering complexities of building water and sewer networks in dense, under-planned neighborhoods, but also the social and economic complexities of getting people connected, keeping them connected and bringing about the behavior changes necessary to enable and sustain the intended benefits.
The cases of the “white elephants,” as referred to by one Zambian water and sanitation regulator – where water or sewer networks are built but lie unused because people do not connect or stay connected – happen because not enough focus is placed on the importance of social dimensions of planning for water and sanitation service delivery.
A global literature review commissioned by MCC found that the rate of household network connections is significantly increased when infrastructure is combined with well-designed and executed information and education campaigns that address the why and how of connecting, accompanied by policies that make connections affordable, such as pre-financing and permitting repayment over time. A tariff structure that addresses affordability and social equity principles is also important.
The LWSSD project involves mostly infrastructure but is also strengthened on the institutional side with initiatives that improve the long-term ability of the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company to manage aspects of service planning and delivery. Some of these aspects include developing policies and planning tools that ensure the integration of social and gender inclusion across the utility, and improving the utility’s capacity to design and implement information and education campaigns on connecting and staying connected; household water management; care and maintenance of facilities; hygiene; keeping drains clean and safe; and employment opportunities in the sector. The goal is to support the utility in adopting best-practices, so that Zambia’s most vulnerable populations can access affordable services and be able to rely on these services into the future.
While the challenges are immense, the ultimate ability of the infrastructure project in Zambia to meet its objectives is dependent on addressing these social dimensions.
Posted on March 28, 2014 by Ben Campbell, Director, Environmental and Social Assessment, Department of Compact Operations
MCC is marking World Water Day with a blog series on our investments in the delivery of clean water, effective sanitation services and long-term solutions that help build economic growth. This is the sixth in the series.
Population pressures in Malawi have pushed poor and vulnerable farmers up the steep hillsides where they scratch out a living growing maize. Having grown up an Iowa farm boy, I would have never contemplated planting corn on such steep slopes—but of course, we were nowhere near as desperate for land or production as the farmers in Malawi.
Unfortunately, there is a knock-on effect to the poverty-driven hillside planting: Tons of topsoil sediment makes its way into the Shire River, where it flows into and fills the head ponds, damaging the hydroelectric plants. The topsoil’s rich nutrients feed invasive weed blooms which get caught in the turbines, leading to power blackouts all over the country.
The effect represents a real long-term threat to MCC’s Malawi Compact, which includes the rehabilitation of the hydroelectric plant on the Shire River and an upgrade of the electric grid through much of southern and central Malawi.
In response, the project on which we are working in partnership with the Malawians seeks long-term financing to promote better land-use practices in the Upper and Middle Shire Basin, the source of much of the soil runoff. Working with private and government-owned companies, we aim to establish an environmental trust.
These downstream companies that make up the trust—including sugarcane producers, bottlers, water utilities, and the electric company—are affected by the same sediment as the hydroelectric plant. Individually, there is little they can do. Together, though, they can contribute the money needed to provide grants to local non-government and community-based organizations which, in turn, can help farmers improve their methods through conservation agriculture, forestry and soil erosion techniques.
For the farmers, the use of one or all of these practices should lead to improved yields. For the trust companies and the hydroelectric plant, these plans will reduce pressure on the forests and hillsides that are the source of the water.
By linking the land-use interests of the downstream entities with the upstream communities, our project hopes to create long-term funding to support these efforts, even after MCC has left.
Posted on March 26, 2014 by Cassandra Q. Butts, Senior Adviser
MCC is marking World Water Day this week with a blog series on our investments in the delivery of clean water, effective sanitation services and long-term solutions that help build economic growth. This is the third in the series.
In the fight against poverty, investing in innovative approaches, enhanced technologies and new techniques to improve development outcomes or reduce costs are essential. Partnerships between the public and private sectors are not new, but they are key to reaching people with new technologies and models for services, often with greater efficiency and impact than what could be achieved working alone.
I recently traveled to Zambia’s capital of Lusaka to participate in the public launch of an exciting program that will leverage public-private partnerships to better support access to clean water, reliable sanitation and services to improve the functioning of Lusaka’s drainage system, especially in the city’s poorest areas.
The Innovation Grant Program intends to confront pressing issues affecting Lusaka’s water sector and limiting economic growth in Zambia. Through calls for proposals to introduce improved technology, best practices and targeted services, the grant program aims to decrease incidences of disease spread through contaminated water as well as reduce the cost of sanitation services and business losses from flooding. With improved service delivery in targeted areas, people will spend less on health care, be more productive in their work and abilities to care for their families, kids will miss less school, and businesses will not have to close as often during the rainy season. New models of service delivery can also create new employment opportunities, support entrepreneurship in the city and empower women and youth.
This program will offer the private sector, universities and other organizations in Zambia, the United States and throughout the world, an opportunity to compete for funding in a transparent manner to complement and supplement the other investments in infrastructure and institutional strengthening being carried out through Zambia’s five-year, $355million MCC compact. Together with the Government of Zambia, the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company and the Lusaka City Council, MCC’s investment will impact more than one million Zambians.
The promise and potential of the Innovation Grant Program will serve the most vulnerable members of society, ensuring that women, children, the poor, and other disadvantaged groups are able to benefit from access to clean water and sanitation services.
Stay tuned: MCA-Zambia will soon announce when it will start accepting proposals. I am excited to see these advances in action!
Posted on January 29, 2014 by Daniel W. Yohannes, Chief Executive Officer
With great excitement and pride, I join MCC’s friends here at home and around the world to celebrate a milestone in our history: our 10th anniversary. Through the promise of our words and the reality of our actions, MCC has partnered with the world’s poor to create new opportunities for a more hopeful, prosperous future.
Over the past decade, MCC changed the conversation when it comes to how the business of development is done. It’s been said that MCC was created to put into practice the principles that many in development long viewed as essential for delivering sustainable solutions for reducing poverty and generating economic growth:
- Selectively working with countries that make tough policy and institutional reforms;
- Development not as aid but as investments that follow fundamental business logic, with sound economic returns that lead to raising the incomes of the poor and fueling the engine of private sector-led growth;
- Partnership that replaces patronage and demands mutual responsibility to achieve measurable targets and results during a strict, time-limited engagement;
- Actively embracing monitoring and evaluation to assess performance, make course corrections as needed and contribute to the body of evidence and learning that maximizes the effectiveness and impact of our investments to help the poor; and
- Accountability and transparency so that the light shines on all we do.
And it’s magnificent to see what our partnerships have accomplished because of how we operate.
- We built roads and bridges around the world, from Vanuatu to Mongolia to El Salvador.
- We improved irrigation canals in Armenia and repaired the gas pipeline in Georgia.
- We delivered land titles in Mozambique, including in the joint names of husbands and wives.
- We made health care, education, electricity, and clean energy possible with health clinics in Lesotho, schools in Ghana, a functional literacy program in Morocco, electrical connections in Zanzibar, and cookstoves in Mongolia.
- We helped farmers and mobile fish vendors make a living with agricultural business centers in Ghana and motorized bikes with ice chests in Morocco.
In these ways and more—including pushing policy reforms; insisting on high environmental, social, fiscal, and procurement standards; advancing gender equality; and engaging the private sector—we are changing the lives of many of the world’s poor for the better.
Building on our strong foundation, I want to see MCC continue to excel as we embark on a second decade of success. I believe doing this means focusing on the evidence. Our commitment to evidence-based decision making helps us learn, share that learning, improve, and maximize the impact of our programs for the world’s poor. Our next 10 years will be defined by how well we accept the challenge to be both role models for what works in development based on the evidence as well as change agents eager to think and act boldly to make development as effective as possible.
If the last 10 years give us any insights, I am confident that MCC will meet the challenges ahead and continue to lead the way in the fight against global poverty.
Check back regularly throughout the year for details on anniversary activities and special publications marking MCC’s 10th.
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