MDG-based Policy Advisory for Governments and International Organisations

Columbia Global Centers | Africa in Nairobi

Columbia Global Centers |Africa is dedicated to increasing the continent’s role in the strategic direction of key global issues, including climate change, global trade, and sustainable development, by providing African and Africa-based institutions with unbiased, science-based advice and by being a conduit for the latest multidisciplinary research, science and technology. The Center contributes to the fight against poverty undertaken by African Governments under the umbrella of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Toward this end, the Center builds on the experiences of the Earth Institute, School of Public Health, School of Social Work, School of Medicine, and other professional schools that have programs of research, dialogue and technical support in African countries that are determined to empower the world’s poorest with the tools to lift themselves out of poverty. It works closely with policy makers, governments, and regional and African institutions including the African Union (AU), Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), providing them with objective, science-based advice free of bias or self-interest.

Millennium Villages Scale-up Program

The Center advocates strongly for the implementation of an MDG focus in the national policies of African countries, and provides guidance and technical backstopping to an increasing number of local and national governments who have adopted the Millennium Villages approach. Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya are just three examples. In March 2007, the government of Rwanda launched the Vision 2020, Umurenge (VUP) initiative informed by the Millennium Villages Project and aimed at accelerating poverty eradication, economic growth and social protection. It aimed at scaling up the MVP type interventions to 30 sectors by 2007, and to 416 by 2012 (population impacted = 60,000).  Currently, the initiative has been expanded to 120 sectors, drawn equitably from the country’s 30 districts.  A partnership with Rwanda's Ministry of Local Government over the next three years will fast track initiatives in irrigation, food security, energy, access to drinking water, agribusiness and data systems management. The Government of Uganda has initiated an MV-style ‘model sub-county’ of approx 25,000 people in each of the 10 districts spread across the country’s four main regions, including special emphasis on post-conflict sites in the northern region ( In October 2006, the Millennium Districts ( were launched by the Ministry of Planning to model the MVP interventions and to improve government capacity, infrastructure, health services and agribusiness (population impacted = 500,000). A rapid MDG needs assessment revealed that the potential identified in the nine districts is encouraging, although currently limited funding, extreme poverty and inadequate stakeholder involvement has limited the support and impact of the project. Oversight of the project has remained a responsibility of the MDG Unit in the MoPND.