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Millennium Villages closing MDG gap?

Millennium Villages closing MDG gap?

Four years remain in the quest to accomplish the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) , and some countries have made great efforts to achieve the goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. Through the Millennium Villages project, supported by the Millennium Promise, UN Development Programme, and The Earth Institute Columbia University, African villages are able to initiate the process of implementing a sustainable effort of bringing the community out of extreme poverty by increasing access to food.

There are currently 13 Millennium Villages throughout the continent of Africa. Kenya has served as an exemplary model for the implementation of the Millennium Villages project, taking measures to increase its access to resources and food, carrying out the program in the villages of Sauri and Dertu. The initiative in Sauri was the first village project to begin in 2004. The project services a cluster of 11 villages, which is home to over 55,000 residents.

With agriculture being the main livelihood in Sauri, increasing the access to food security through a low-cost intervention at the village level is very feasible, and continues to have positive effects across the cluster of Millennium Villages. After the first two years of the village program’s initial stages, the production of maize, Sauri’s main crop, tripled, along with an increase in the overall production of crops in the villages. The people of Sauri have worked with experts to diversify the crops currently produced, in order to have wider access. Farmers who experience an increased level of income are able to branch out into the unexplored territory of income generating activities, such as growing high value crops such as onions, tomatoes, kale, herbs, and fruit as introduced to them through the village program. Some have also begun to generate food and income through the use of fish ponds.

The Millennium Village project demonstrates that through different initiatives, increased resources and aid, developing communities can achieve the goals set out by the International community in the year 2000. The question remains whether these MDGs will be fully realized by year 2015, but countries such as Kenya are feverishly working towards seeing these goals to fruition.

Posted by Nadja Boncoeur.

Photo credit: Nestle