Sauri was just an ordinary Kenyan village two years ago, where hunger, poverty and illness were an everyday part of normal life. Now the maize is taller, the children better fed and the water is cleaner. It is one of the 11 millenium villages to be chosen by the United Nations Millenium project to be an experimental prototype to enable impoverished villages to escape extreme poverty.

It’s an astonishily simple idea, invest approximately $100 for each member of the village for 5 years and see what happens.

African’s are in a poverty trap – they farm a small plot of land for himself and his family, and simply doesn’t have enough assets to make a profit. As the population grows, people have less and less land, and grow poorer. When the farmer has to pay school fees for his children or buy medication, he is forced to sell the few assets he has or else go into debt. But if he had some capital, he could invest in his farm, grow enough to harvest a surplus, sell it, and start making ­money.

The idea to ‘shock’ villages into prosperity with large injections of cash is that of economist Jeffrey Sachs author of ‘The End of Poverty‘. Africa has been ­drip-­fed aid for decades, but it has never received enough to make a difference. What money has trickled in has been wasted on overpriced consultants and misspent on humanitarian relief and food aid, not directed at the root causes of poverty. There is a full report here.

Having seen what Tukae are doing in Tanzania, I’m not surprised.  They are enabling the local population to build up their economy by giving them jobs and support.  Their current Malaria project will bring much needed health care and medicine to the children at Emau Hill.

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