When architect Fernando Arias first arrived in Kumasi, Ghana last year, he saw unpaved roads, trash burning, garbage everywhere, and shoeless children running all around. He knew he needed to act on their behalf.
Millennium Cities Initiative
The Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI), a project of the Earth Institute, Columbia University, assists sub-Saharan cities in their efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, thereby helping to make severe poverty a thing of the past. MCI helps selected, under-resourced urban centers become viable, sustainable “Millennium Cities” — each with distinct livelihood opportunities, improved access to public services and links with the countryside and international markets. MCI accomplishes this through a combination of research and policy analysis, and by working with local, domestic and international partners to stimulate economic and social development.
MCI’s signature School2School Connectivity Project (S2S), a partnership with global communications giants Ericsson and Airtel Ghana, the City of Kumasi, Ghana, the Kumasi Metropolitan Education Directorate, Columbia University Teachers College and selected New York City public and private schools to teach the uses of the computer and the Internet in the teaching of the STEM… read more
Millennium City and Millennium Village Students ‘Stand Up for Girls’ on International Day of the Girl
In sub-Saharan Africa, only 63 percent of girls complete their schooling, according to the World Bank. Yet our own research in the Millennium Cities indicates that girls who continue their education will have far greater opportunities, and they will be in a better position to care for themselves and their families. To celebrate the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl, by “Standing Up for Girls” and their right to a quality education, a number of the Millennium Cities and Millennium Villages Project sites held rallies, marched and participated in debates on girls’ issues.
Two Masters in Development Practice students, Paloma Ruiz Gonzalez and Marianna Costa Checa, used their MDP practicum this past summer to assist the Millennium Cities Initiative in mapping and surveying all health facilities in the Millennium City of Kisumu, Kenya, at the request of the city government and local health officials.
A new survey conducted in three informal settlements in Kisumu, Kenya, examined poverty at the household level, gleaning information on the quality of life experienced by individuals living in such settlements. A follow-up workshop gave researchers a chance to share the information with local residents and hear their thoughts on the needs of poor neighborhoods.
The following is a guest blog, authored by Meagan HoChing, a Harvard University student and volunteer with the Millennium Cities Initiative.
I have recently had the absolute pleasure of spending two weeks in beautiful Kisumu, Kenya. I am working with two other students to perfect what we would like to call “Bloom and Bud,” which involves urban farming with 100% recyclable materials, in an effort to provide food sustainability for those with minimal to no land or food security.
MCI is lucky enough to work with two amazing Ethiopian women from the region of Tigrai, in the north of the country where the Millennium City of Mekelle is located. Both women have gone abroad to become talented professionals and both have resolved to transform the lives of women and young girls in their native region, returning home, one permanently, in order to do so.
Graduate students in architecture and urban design recently presented their findings and design work issuing out of a collaboration between the Urban Design Lab (UDL) and MCI in the Millennium City of Kumasi, Ghana. At the city’s invitation, and with MCI’s facilitation, the UDL came to Kumasi in early February, to devise solutions to revitalize the severely degraded and impoverished areas of Akrom, Adukrom and Sewabah and to design a comprehensive Women’s and Girls’ Center for the vibrant downtown commercial neighborhood of Bantama.
MCI’s Regional Partnership to Promote Trade and Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa held its regional meeting May 7-9, in Mekelle, Ethiopia, where delegations from the three participating Millennium Cities were able to hold extended, frank discussions with their colleagues and with private sector investors, who did not hesitate to describe precisely what it is that local and foreign investors need and look for, in order for their businesses to grow and prosper.
It’s said that practice makes perfect, and that saying couldn’t be truer than for health care workers trying to save newborn lives in low-income settings. Without frequent retraining and refresher workshops, such skills deteriorate over time. The need for these workshops is especially strong in Ethiopia, where the infant mortality rate is 77.12 deaths per 1,000 babies, placing it among the worst worldwide.