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.
The following is a guest blog, authored by Dr. Medhat Allam, Chairman of International Surgical Mission Support, one of MCI’s partners.
In Kenya, like with many developing counties, residents often lack access to specialized medical care. International Surgical Mission Support (ISMS), which strives to train medical professionals and provide free care to those in need, recognized a gap in the level of care available in Kenya and decided to send two teams to Nyanza Provincial General Hospital in the Millennium City of Kisumu, Kenya.
Words – and worlds – were shared in celebration of the second annual World Read Aloud Day, organized by LitWorld, on March 9, 2011. As part of LitWorld’s much larger celebration of reading, literacy and learning, students from across the Millennium Cities connected with students in the United States via Skype, to share stories and talk about the importance of reading.
The following is a guest blog, authored by David Homa, an anthropology and economics teacher at Los Gatos High School in California, one of MCI’s School2School partners.
As the world shrinks through the use of technology, it is possible to widen the world to students all over the world. During the past week, I have been in Kisumu, Kenya, visiting the Kisumu Day Boys High School. Kisumu Day is our partner school through the School2School program, started by Millennium Promise and the Earth Institute’s Millennium Cities Initiative.
The following is a guest blog, authored by Mayuko Hashimoto, a GlaxoSmithKline PULSE volunteer from Tokyo, Japan, who is working with the Millennium Cities Initiative for six months in Kisumu, Kenya to further maternal and neonatal survival.
As a volunteer with GlaxoSmithKline, I’ll be in Kisumu for six months to support the Millennium Cities Initiative in its efforts to help the city become sustainable and improve its social services. My role here is to assess the existing capacity of neonatal and maternal health care services offered through health centres and the outreach efforts of community health workers.
The Earth Institute successfully completed a $1.9 million landmark challenge grant, awarded by the Tides Foundation, to benefit the Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI). Because of the Tides challenge and our generous donors, a total of $3.8 million has been raised to support the project’s work to help targeted mid-sized cities across sub-Saharan Africa promote sustainable development and achieve the Millennium Development Goals, eight internationally-endorsed benchmarks designed to end extreme poverty.
The following is a guest blog, authored by Victoria Okoye, a Millennium Cities Initiative researcher, who has been investigating urban transportation issues in Accra, Ghana.
Researching urban transport in Accra, Ghana, this summer on behalf of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Millennium Cities Initiative, I learned a lot about the city’s most well-known, loved, hated, but essential modes of transport. Tro-tros, as they are called here, are minibuses that seat 10 to 19 persons and operate along set routes inside the city. They transport 70% of Accra residents traveling to work and shopping, making it the most widely used form of transportation.
Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city, has one of the highest poverty levels and worst set of health indicators in the country. As such, its needs are significant. Ben Obera, our social sector specialist in Kisumu, has worked tirelessly to address the many challenges confronting the city. In an effort to fill some of the gaps identified within our MDG-based needs assessments in education and water/sanitation, Obera has helped facilitate numerous interventions led by local and international partners. This work has led to the development of a flagship School2School partnership program; numerous trainings for educators and city officials; the creation of Girls’ Clubs, which promote literacy and peer-to-peer relationship building; and outreach in informal settlements to enhance access to clean water, improve sanitation and support critical infrastructure projects. MCI recently interviewed this “MDG Hero” about his dedication to the city of Kisumu and his efforts to see MCI’s mission through to fruition.
Since 2006, Physicians for Peace (PfP), a U.S. based non-profit focused on providing health care training and education to developing countries, has been working with the Millennium Cities Initiative to help the Millennium Cities in their efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals. Under the leadership of Brigadier General Ron Sconyers, PfP has shipped containers of life-saving medicines and medical equipment to the Millennium Cities in Mali and Senegal; has led several missions to research the most acute medical training needs in Millennium Cities in both east and west Africa; and has dispatched multiple surgical teams to perform fistula repair surgeries that have transformed the lives of many women and girls in Kaduna, Nigeria, and Segou, Mali. PfP has also been instrumental in advocating for a blood bank in Segou, Mali, which will bring millions of people access to safe blood transfers. To coincide with this week’s UN MDG Summit, MCI interviewed this “MDG Hero” about his work with Physicians for Peace to advance health-related MDGs.
In the Millennium City of Kumasi, Ghana, the Maternal Mortality Ratio was on the rise until 2009. But a sustained and dedicated effort on the part of the Kumasi Metropolitan Health Directorate and its director, Dr. Kwasi Yeboah-Awudzi, has resulted in dramatically reduced maternal deaths over the last 18 months. Dr. Yeboah-Awudzi’s direction included upgrading frontline facility infrastructure to accommodate safe deliveries, performing more cesareans at these facilities and intensifying public education regarding the importance of ante-natal visits. In celebration of this week’s UN MDG Summit, MCI interviewed this “MDG Hero” about his work to advance Target 1 of Millennium Development Goal 4.
Back in the flush days of 2005, a confident, wealthy G8 promised sub-Saharan Africa $25 billion more per year to help the region achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the target date of 2015, then 10 years hence.