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The ObjectiveA team of online retailers known as the "Virtual Millennium Village - Tanzania" has teamed up with Millennium Promise to transform the lives of the Mbola Village in Tanzania. The mission of Millenium Promise is to achieve the eight globally endorsed initiatives known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the year 2015 in Africa with the ultimate goal of ending extreme poverty worldwide by 2025.
The Millennium Village concept is based on the powerful idea that "impoverished villages can transform themselves and meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 if they are empowered with proven, powerful, practical technologies. It is simply a "bottom up" approach to lifting villages in developing countries out of the poverty trap that confines more than one billion people worldwide. By investing in health, food production, education, access to clean water, and essential infrastructure, these community-led interventions will enable impoverished villages to escape extreme poverty once and for all. Once these communities get a foothold on the bottom rung of the development ladder they can propel themselves on a path of self-sustaining economic growth. The concept was developed by a team of scientific experts at The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the UN Millennium Project."
Why We Joined the Virtual Millennium Village TeamAll About Gifts & Baskets decided to join the team after considerable research which included a thorough read of "The End of Poverty" by Jeffrey Sachs. What initially drew us to the Millennium Village concept is the fact that we can see the effects of our contributions directly on the village that we sponsor in Tanzania. We will receive periodic progress reports with villager stories that we plan to post on our website.
Millennium Promise addresses all of the major problems of the villagers simultaneously (disease, hunger, inadequate education, lack of safe drinking water, and lack of essential infrastructure). It is this multi-pronged, proven approach that really sealed the deal for us. Leading world economist and Millennium Promise founder Jeffrey Sachs believes that comprehensive community interventions will give the people tools necessary to get them on the path to achieve self-sustained development - and we believe that he is correct.
Along with the generous support from our customer base, we feel that we have a unique opportunity to end extreme poverty, disease and hunger in the Mbola Millenium Village. Toward this end, All About Gifts & Baskets has pledged a 100% match on contributions made through their website's checkout process. When a customer purchases a gift, they will have the option to contribute $1, $2, $5 or $10 to the cause. All About Gifts & Baskets will match these contributions giving a maximum of $20,000 per year. Our goal is to raise $20,000 per year for the Mbola Millenium Village.
The Mbola Millenium Village One of 79 millennium villages across 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Mbola Millennium Village is located in the northwestern area of Tanzania. This area comprises about 30,000 people and was chosen because it truly represents the poorest of the poor. Like many sub-Saharan African children, the kids in Mbola suffer from malnutrition and display the telltale signs with stunted growth and distended bellies. Most of the families in Mbola live in crumbling mud-bricked huts that have grass thatched roofs. They spend most of their days just figuring out how to survive and obtain the basic necessities such as clean water and food.
How Will Our Money Be Used? Simply put - our money will be used to assist villagers in Mbola with essentials like seed, fertilizer, bed nets, and clean water wells. For a mere $110 per villager per year for the next 5 years ($50 from donors like us along with $60 from governments, partner organizations, and village members), we can change the lives of the villagers in Mbola and help get them on the path of self-sustained development. This money is NOT just a handout. As stated by Millennium Promise, "Equally as important is that the villagers themselves own and drive all the work being done through Millennium Promise. They are our partners and they are the keys to success."
As we mentioned earlier, Millennium Promise has a comprehensive investment strategy based on the specific needs in Mbola and will implement practical solutions on several fronts including (for more details, please visit Bundling Critical Interventions):
Farm Production - Intervene by revitalizing the sandy soil thereby increasing the production of crops by facilitating the delivery and use of fertilizer, planting nitrogen replenishing legumes, developing a community based seed supply, and building a grain storage facility. Finally, farmers will be taught about rain-water harvesting so that they have an irrigation water supply in the dry season and during the increasingly erratic rainy season. Ironically, there is plenty of farmland in Mbola with most families owning 3 to 25 hectares of land. However, the current crop output is so low and inconsistent that the villagers cannot harvest enough to feed themselves, much less store or sell food outside their village. Currently, the main food crops are tropical fruits, corn, cassava, pumpkin, millet, sorghum and nuts. The goal here is to reduce hunger and malnutrition through improved farm production. Local agricultural agents (like US extension offices) will be trained to be the local experts where farmers can go with questions. Eventually improved access to the trade markets such as supermarkets and export oriented distributors will be needed so that farmers can sell excess crops.
Health - Disease and lack of health care is rampant in this poor country where the average life span is only 45 years old and the infant mortality rate is nearly 10%. There is infinite room for improvement in the area of health care. Millennium Promise funds will be used to provide bed nets to prevent malaria . a disease that needlessly kills millions of children each year. Almost every home in Mbola has a child or parent that has died from Malaria. They will also make sure that those infected with HIV obtain the anti-retrovirals necessary to manage the disease. Nearly 1.6 million people in Tanzania are living with AIDS so HIV/AIDS testing and prevention counseling is needed. Next, there will be a free fully staffed local clinic where villagers can get the basic health care and medical supplies that they so desperately need. Currently villagers have to walk up to 10 kilometers each way to get their sick child or themselves to a clinic or hospital that often times doesn.t have the drugs or facilities needed to save their lives. To improve the mortality rates of children, immunizations against diseases need to be provided. In addition, women will be educated on reproductive health and home birth coaches will be trained to cut down on baby and mother deaths due to birth.
Education - Establish the infrastructure for education so that full attendance to primary school for both boys and girls is attained. Because the village is very spread out, many children have to walk up to 10 km each way to attend school. The great distances from home mean these children have no meal throughout the school day. Not only is learning significantly diminished when children are hungry, but many children simply just stay home rather than go hungry all day. Therefore to encourage attendance and enable children to excel, Millennium Promise wants to make sure that a mid-day meal is provided for the children.
Water - Provide safe and accessible water stations for the villagers either through dug wells, bore holes, etc. Many of the current wells are shallow meaning that they become contaminated and muddy which causes dysentery and diarrhea in the villagers who choose to drink from them. There are no natural springs or running rivers in this region. Millennium Promise will intervene to install and train villagers about rooftop rain collection systems. In addition, they will provide materials and training necessary to filter and disinfect raw collected water.
Energy & Environment - Promote the use of solar, wind and biomass energy as well as energy saving stoves with chimneys so that villages don.t use so many of their precious resources such as local trees and charcoal. This will significantly reduce deforestation. Investigate linking to the national power grid as well as a rechargeable lantern system. Finally, provide seedlings for forestry redevelopment.
Technology & Infrastructure - Millennium Promise will help improve and furnish the local community center plus add village internet connectivity, electricity and mobile telephones for communication outside the village. The facility can be used as a location to train local experts on health, farming and other issues. Within the facility, set up a space for small businesses and entrepreneurs that require electricity and provide expertise and training for businesses such as local artisans. Finally, assist in procuring a village vehicle that could aid in distributing fertilizer and taking people to hospitals in emergencies. Of course, road development will be essential.
Quick Facts About Extreme Poverty
- More than one billion people in the world live on less than $1 a day. In total, 2.7 billion people struggle to survive on less than $2 a day. Extreme poverty affects more than 1/3 of our world.
- 7 million children die a year from completely preventable or treatable diseases like malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia. 1 million of them die of malaria - that is 1 African child every 30 seconds.
- Every day, 6,000 people die from HIV/AIDS and 8,200 more are infected.
- Every 3.6 seconds, another person in the world dies of starvation. Most of them are under the age of 5.
- More than 2.6 billion people (40% of the world.s population) do not have basic sanitation and nearly 1 million don.t have safe sources of drinking water.
For more information, visit MillenniumPromise.org. To donate directly to our poverty ladder: