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BRIGHT Project Shines in Burkina Faso

“. . . It is very important for you and for your families and your country, that you do your lessons well. I hope I can come here in a few years and see you much taller and stronger, and reading your lessons very well. Because if that happens, it means that the objectives of the Millennium Challenge have been achieved and the efforts that we are trying to make in partnership with your country will be successful . . .”

So spoke the Millennium Challenge Corporation Chief Executive Officer John Danilovich to the young girls and boys sitting in front of him in the first grade classroom in Tangassogo village, Burkina Faso.

Representing the MCC, Ambassador Danilovich had traveled to this small village in Burkina Faso to report back on the progress of a school financed through MCC funding of the BRIGHT project, a two-year education initiative led by Plan.

Fewer than half of all girls in Burkina Faso attend school. Long walking distances from schools, early and forced marriages, time-consuming household chores and lack of interest in educating girls are some of the barriers that keep thousands of girls from going to school.

The MCC-funded BRIGHT Project provides incentives to remove barriers to girls’ education and encourages increased enrollment and regular attendance of children in schools, particularly girls. The program is simple, but grand in its scope: to build, equip, and support 132 schools in the 10 of the 45 provinces with the lowest girls’ education rates.

Located in the Northern part of Burkina Faso, Tangassogo is a village with about 1,000 inhabitants. Two years ago, the village had no school. But today, a three-classroom building stands majestically in the village. The school also proudly hosts a new borehole and pump to provide students and faculty with much-needed fresh drinking water.

Attending the new school are 72 children — 38 of whom are girls.

On one side of the classroom block is a set of six latrines: three for the boys, and three for the girls. On the other side is a building from which smoke can often be seen riding high into the sky. The children can often be seen glancing at this building — the canteen; the smoke is the sign that lunch will soon be ready.

Despite the global expansion of accessible education, millions of children from poor families are denied the right to basic education. Plan seeks to ensure that children, young people and adults acquire basic learning and life skills to realize their full potential and contribute to the development of their societies.

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