Doing good in Africa: Jeff Sachs and the Millennium Villages Project, Part 1

The program started by Mr. Sachs helped bring the cow, the milk, the rainwater storage and a computer lab. 

A version of this post originally appeared on the View from the Cave blog. The views expressed are the writer's own. 

Yala, Kenya - It is not often that a greenhouse is found on the property of a primary school in Kenya.

But Muhando primary school in Nyanza province has one.

It is part of an agriculture program at the school supported by the Millennium Villages Project (MVP).

With successful crops and involvement by students and teachers, the project holds the potential to support some of the most vulnerable. Though it is still early and the teachers are not exactly sure what they will do with the profit.

One teacher asserted that the money made from the farm must support the needy children in the school. Another said it could be used to improve lunch. School meals are available at the school for children that pay or are determined to be vulnerable. Maize and beans are cooked in giant cook-stoves installed by the MVP.

The MVP is the brainchild of Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs.

The program seeks to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by tackling poverty from many different angles including education, health and agriculture.

The program's work at Muhando covers the full range of areas.

The program's fingerprints are all over the school. It bought the cow that produces six gallons of milk every week. It built the rainwater storage tank that collects rainwater from the roof of the school building. It established a computer lab by providing the computers for the school. It even used to provide kale, fruit, and other foods to stimulate participation in the meal program.

[MDV's] role now is mostly to check in. The meal support was pulled and transferred over to the parents who contribute with food or money.

This is how the program generally operates. It identifies areas of need, provides immediate support and transitions control quickly to the community, individual or establishment.

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