Country Ownership, Food Security & Economic Growth

Development investments are more effective and sustainable when they reflect a country’s own priorities and strengthen government’s accountability to its citizens. This is the starting point for MCC’s approach to country ownership. Through investments in areas like agriculture, energy and education — with partner governments taking the lead in setting priorities — MCC helps countries better deliver vital services to their citizens and open up new opportunities for businesses.

This week, to mark Feed the Future Week, we’re taking a closer look at programs in MCC partner countries that support food security, country-led development and economic growth. Here are three ways MCC is working with country partners to transform lives and create opportunity.

1. Building Niger’s Statistical Capacity to Bolster the Agricultural Sector

Food crises are all too common in Niger, a land-locked country, two-thirds of which is Sahara desert. One of the barriers to smart development of a more resilient agricultural sector in Niger has been a lack of reliable and comprehensive data to inform policies and public spending. There just isn’t the budget for quality data collection.

With access to reliable data, Nigerian farmers can make informed decisions on what to produce, when and where to sell, and at what price. More information on market demand and price trends means lower risks and the potential for greater profits.

As part of a $437 million compact focused on strengthening Niger’s agricultural sector by improving water availability, infrastructure, and market access, MCC is supporting the government’s efforts to build the country’s statistical capacity. During pre-compact negotiations, MCC was particularly excited by the Nigerien Government’s enthusiastic request to invest in its statistical capacity to improve evidence-based planning and monitoring of key indicators. As a result, the compact will help provide a framework for Niger’s national statistical system to generate and apply the basic data needed to guide decision-making. It will also focus on the development of statistical capacity at the National Institute of Statistics and key ministries, including the Ministries of Planning, Water and Sanitation, Agriculture and Livestock, and Environment.

Read more on our blog.

2. Working with Local Communities to Promote Child Health in Indonesia

More than 8 million children in Indonesia suffer from stunted growth. Stunting increases a child’s risk for infections, delayed brain development, and reduced academic achievement and earning potential, leading to a lifetime of missed opportunities. MCC is currently investing $134.2 million to reduce stunting in 11 of Indonesia’s 34 provinces by integrating sanitation, maternal and child health, and nutrition interventions.

The Community-Based Health and Nutrition to Reduce Stunting Project provides grants to more than 5,400 Indonesian villages for health and education activities, including training for more than 18,000 health workers on maternal and infant nutrition, community-led sanitation programs, and a national communications campaign focused on improving child feeding practices. The program supports community efforts to improve targeted health, nutrition, and education indicators.

Together with the Indonesian Government and its implementing partners, MCC’s work has already led to an improvement in national guidelines on child growth monitoring and infant and young child feeding in Indonesia, which will continue to benefit children across the country long after MCC’s project is completed in 2018.

Read more on our blog.

3. Supporting Law and Policy Reform to Improve Water Management in Moldova

A reliable water supply is important to Moldovan farmers as they look to export more fruits and vegetables to European and other markets. As part of its Moldova Compact, completed in 2015, MCC supported the Government of Moldova in its efforts to reform laws and policies to transfer authority of water resources to local communities, empowering farmers.

MCC worked with its Moldovan partners to organize water users associations that are now managing and maintaining irrigation systems rehabilitated as part of MCC’s investments. Before the compact, there was no legal framework for farmers to form an association, manage irrigation equipment, monitor water usage or collect fees.

Managing their own water resources brings both benefits and responsibilities for Moldova’s farmers — but it puts them in control of their businesses and gives them more autonomy.

Thanks to the passage of a new law, water users associations are now able to invest in irrigation with confidence that water will be available in the quantity and quality they need to irrigate their land. Moldovan farmers are now better placed to manage their water resources and explore new export opportunities to drive growth.

Read more on our blog.