Press Release

MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes Joins First Lady Michelle Obama in Celebrating International Women’s Day

Reception Featured Honored Guests from the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s BRIGHT 2 Schools Project in Burkina Faso

For Immediate Release

March 9, 2011

Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) Chief Executive Officer Daniel W. Yohannes joined First Lady Michelle Obama at an event celebrating the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day at the White House.

International Women’s Day is a global celebration that recognizes women’s accomplishments, calls for an end to discrimination, and supports the full and equal participation of women in society.

Mr. Yohannes welcomed Aissatou Hamidou Diallo and Fatimata Yanta, two young participants in the BRIGHT 2 schools project in Burkina Faso, to Washington D.C. They were joined by Burkina Faso Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Board Member, Madeleine Ouangraoua Sorgo, a leader and advocate for women in that country. Ms. Diallo, who introduced the First Lady at the event, discussed her life in Burkina Faso and her success in school as a result of the BRIGHT 2 project.

In July 2008, MCC signed a five-year, $480.9 million Compact with the Government of Burkina Faso. The BRIGHT 2 schools project, building on an earlier MCC-funded program, seeks to expand 132 recently constructed schools in rural villages with the lowest rates for girls’ primary school enrollment to accommodate students in grades 4 to 6. BRIGHT 2, administered by MCC in partnership with USAID, is designed to promote long-term economic growth and poverty reduction by focusing on increasing girls’ primary school enrollment and completion rates.

“It is an honor to join First Lady Michelle Obama in welcoming Aissatou, Fatimata and Madeleine Ouangraoua Sorgo—a leader for all women in Burkina Faso,” stated Mr. Yohannes. “The achievements of Aissatou and Fatimata in school and the profound role that Ms. Sorgo has played in shaping her nation are examples of the success that women can have when given the opportunity.”

“Any serious effort to tackle global poverty must include a focus on transforming the lives of the world’s poorest women.” Mr. Yohannes added. “I am pleased that President Obama has made it a priority to ensure that women and girls across the world have equal access to opportunities to help themselves, their families and their communities.”

MCC is committed to working with poor, well-governed countries to help place them on the road to self-sufficiency. MCC recognizes that gender inequality is a significant constraint to economic growth and poverty reduction.
Developed in 2006, MCC’s groundbreaking Gender Policy mandates consideration of gender differences and inequalities in all aspects of its work: from the selection of eligible countries, to the development, design, and implementation of Compact projects, to the monitoring and evaluation of results.

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Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. Government agency designed to work with developing countries, is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces sound political, economic, and social policies that promote poverty reduction through economic growth.  For more information, please visit

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