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Village Descriptions

Millennium Villages: A New Approach to
Fighting Poverty

Village Descriptions


Potou, Senegal Koraro, Ethiopia
Dertu, Kenya
Tiby, Mali
Bonsaaso, Ghana
Pampaida, Nigeria Sauri, Kenya
Ikaram, Nigeria Mbola, Tanzania
Ruhiira, Uganda
Mayange, Rwanda Mwandama, Malawi

Each of the 12 clusters of villages is located in a distinct agro-ecological zone—arid or humid, highland or lowland, grain producing or pastoral—to reflect the range of farming, water, disease, and infrastructure challenges facing the continent and to show how tailored strategies can overcome each one of them.

Below are brief descriptions of the 12 original Millennium Villages at the end of 2006:

Sauri, Kenya
Sauri is quickly showing progress and potential when life-saving interventions are introduced into a village and communities are empowered with the means to pull themselves out of poverty. In 2004, Sauri, located in Western Kenya's Siaya District, became the first Millennium Village. The rural community of 5,300 people made a commitment to pulling itself out of poverty, but lacked the means to do so.
Koraro, Ethiopia

Surrounded by jagged peaks and dusty arid land lies Koraro, a small remote village of 5,000 eking out an existence in northern Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world. A small school can only house six grades. The seventh graders sit out in the hot sun under the shade of a large tree in the village. And even so, half of the children in Koraro, more than 1,500, are malnourished and have little time for focusing on education.


Bonsaaso, Ghana

In western Ghana more than 5,000 people live in a medium-sized village called Bonsaaso. They rely heavily on their small-scale farms to produce crops such as cocoa, oil palm, yams, and cassava. Production output, however, is low and because most of the focus is placed on cash crops especially that of cocoa, growing food crops is neglected. As a result the area is wrought with severe malnutrition. Children's diets are almost entirely made up of starches.


Pampaida, Nigeria

Pampaida is located in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna. No source of electricity exists in except for one private generator. Firewood is the main source of energy, but because of highly degraded vegetation firewood has become scarce. There is a yearly food shortage in Pampaida, which ranges from three months of hunger in a good year to five months of hunger in a drought year.

Mayange, Rwanda

Mayange is a village of returnees--roughly 5,000 people or 1,005 households--who came back to Rwanda after the 1994 genocide. Surrounding settlements bring the surrounding population to roughly 50,000.


Mwandama, Malawi
Nearly 90 percent of the people of Mwandama Village, located in southern Malawi, live below the poverty line--less than $1 a day. The people of this remote village, numbering more than 5,100, live quietly almost seven kilometers away from the closest dirt road. Children also have to travel that same distance to get to school and for water which is often muddy and undrinkable.

Potou, Senegal
Potou is located in the Niayes zone of Senegal, bordering the maritime fringe of the north of the country. Potou was selected to be a Millennium Village mainly because of its inhabitants' reliance on a combination of fishing and agriculture, and because of the threat posed by the movement of dunes to the depressions where horticulture activities are undertaken. It represents the very important coastal-artisanal fishing farming system.

Tiby, Mali
Donkey-pulled carts are a common sight in the dusty roads of Tiby. Villagers use them to bring their goods to local markets which sometimes are up to 10 kilometers away. Equally as far are the paved roads where the goods can be transported to larger townships. It is an arduous task for many to sell a cart-load of crops.

Click here for Mali slideshow


Mbola, Tanzania
The situation in Mbola is stark. The children have faces hardened by years of adversity that belie their youth--living in one of the poorest regions of Tanzania. They are everywhere in this village, and immediately you notice their stunted height and distended bellies, telltale signs of malnourishment. But despite all this, they are still children and they remain cheerful and playful especially when there is a makeshift soccerball to be kicked around.


Dertu, Kenya
The village in Dertu represents the pastoral farming system at the desert margins of tropical Africa. The means of livelihood are centered on nomadic pastoralism coupled with some business. Fuelwood is the main form of energy and is predominantly collected by women and children. The collection distance is increasing due to depletion from the village environs.
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Koraro, Ethiopia Sauri, Kenya Mbola, Tanzania Potou, Senegal Tiby, Mali Bonsaaso, Ghana Pampaida, Nigeria Mwandama, Malawi