Millennium Challenge Corporation; United States of America

The power of impact

MCC CEO Daniel W. Yohannes works a concrete breaker at the groundbreaking for the road in Samar.

For the first time in my life, I jumped into a concrete breaker. As I took the controls and started breaking into the asphalt of the road that we are rehabilitating on Samar Island, I could already feel the positive impact unfolding as a result of the partnership between MCC and the Philippines. Nearly half of the $434 million compact will be invested in rehabilitating 222 kilometers of road on Samar Island, and I was honored to participate in the groundbreaking during my visit to the Philippines.

All the local leaders—from mayors to the governor and congressman who attended—stressed the enormous economic and social benefits the road will bring, especially as a complement to other ongoing projects like the rehabilitation of a local airport. We are laying the foundation for future economic opportunities. While the impact in these terms is certainly real, what I saw and heard at the groundbreaking emphasizes a far greater impact.

First, the local turnout was impressive. Extra chairs had to be brought in, while many more remained standing. The people's presence underscores that this is a project they stand behind as they welcome the benefits their communities will enjoy from it. The impact of local engagement for accountability cannot be underestimated.

Second, it was refreshing to see all stakeholders who have a role in the construction of the road at the event. Their commitment to deliver the road on time, within budget and with quality shows a willingness to uphold our high standards for infrastructure projects. The impact for sustainability is stronger when all stakeholders demonstrate a commitment to good performance.

And third, I was able to climb into the concrete breaker because it was already on site, along with other heavy equipment. Such rapid equipment mobilization will allow the project to start on schedule, and deliver impact as soon as possible to the people of Samar.

The noise of a concrete breaker in action represents impact in motion. For the people of Samar about to experience a rehabilitated road, this is the sound of a dream becoming a reality.