From its base at the Columbia Global Centers | Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, The Millennium Development Goals Center for East and Southern Africa is based in Nairobi, Kenya, and supports and implements the Millennium Villages Project in six countries – Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia.
For a profile of Mayange Millennium Village in Rwanda, please click here.
The project was started in 2005, and is the only concerted effort to help rural Africa achieve the Millennium Development Goals and empower communities to lift themselves out of poverty. The Villages are proving that by fighting poverty at the village level through community-led development, rural Africa can achieve the Goals — global targets for reducing extreme poverty and hunger by half and improving education, health, gender equality and environmental sustainability — by 2015, and escape the extreme poverty that traps hundreds of millions of people throughout the continent. Offering an innovative integrated approach to rural development, the Project simultaneously addresses the challenges of extreme poverty in many overlapping areas: agriculture, education, health, infrastructure, gender equality, and business development.
Simple solutions like providing high-yield seeds, fertilizers, medicines, drinking wells, and materials to build school rooms and clinics are effectively combating extreme poverty and nourishing communities into a new age of health and opportunity. Improved science and technology such as agroforestry, insecticide-treated bed nets, antiretroviral drugs, the Internet, remote sensing, and geographic information systems enriches this progress. Over a 10-year period spanning two five-year phases, community committees and local governments build capacity to continue these initiatives and develop a solid foundation for sustainable growth.
Currently 500,000 people in 14 different sites in 10 countries are part of the project. Each site is located in a distinct agro-ecological zone which together, represent the farming systems used by 90% of the agricultural population of sub-Saharan Africa. The communities are partnered with local and national governments, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, UNDP, Millennium Promise as well as other NGOs and corporate partners.
Villages cost roughly $110 per person per year for five years, well within the official development aid commitments made by the international community, and have been taken up by the UN Secretary General as an example of best practice.
In the second phase of the Millennium Villages Project, the Goals Center will focus on working with governments to scale up the model to national level, and launching new villages to enable millions more to escape the poverty trap.
For more information, please visit the Millennium Villages Project website.