The MDG Centre for East and Southern Africa is based in Nairobi, Kenya, and supports and implements the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) in six countries – Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia. The project was started in 2005, to provide immediate evidence that, by empowering communities with adequate resources, people in the poorest regions of rural Africa can lift themselves out of poverty in five years time, and meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
The 80 Millennium Villages are based in “hunger hot spots”, focusing attention on rural Africa as the region at greatest risk of falling short of achieving the goals. In partnership with government and local communities, the project implements integrated interventions in agriculture, education, infrastructure and health. Business development is also a priority, to enable villagers to generate sustainable incomes that can maintain gains made by the project on their own.
Simple solutions like providing high-yield seeds, fertilizers, medicines, drinking wells, and materials to build schools and clinics are effectively combating extreme poverty and nourishing communities into a new age of health and opportunity.
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 2010.
In the second phase of the Millennium Villages Project, the MDG Centre 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.