Columbia University

Fighting Poverty in Africa
"Farming, water, disease, education — with targeted strategies, we can overcome the challenges of poverty in Africa."
— Jeffrey Sachs
A bold model for community-led development helps half a million people in rural Africa lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

Challenges like low-productivity agriculture, a high disease burden, and high transport costs render hundreds of millions of Africans especially vulnerable to persistent extreme poverty. By helping to make the investments in human capital and infrastructure required to achieve self-sustaining economic growth, the Millennium Villages project offers a bold, innovative model for helping rural communities.

In 80 villages in 10 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, simple solutions like mosquito netting, high-yield seeds, fertilizers, medicines, drinking wells, and materials to build school rooms and clinics are effectively nourishing communities into a new age of health and opportunity.  The Millennium Villages are proving that, by focusing on community-led development at the village level, rural Africa can achieve UN-established global targets for reducing poverty and hunger and improving education, health, gender equality, and environmental sustainability by 2015.

Meet The Donor: Sue and Bill Gross

In recent years, Sue and Bill Gross of Laguna Beach, California, have donated more than $15 million in support of Millennium Villages and other projects. “We're happy to support the Earth Institute,” they say, “and to play a role in helping bring hope and self-sufficiency to some of the poorest people on the planet who face almost insurmountable odds in achieving better lives for themselves and their families.”


“The Gross's generosity helps empower hundreds of thousands to fight poverty and transform their lives,” said Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs. “Through critical and creative ways, this donation will go to expanding the project throughout Africa.”



Published: June 2011