State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Laptops and MTV in Rural Kenyan School

Flashback for a second. Though it may seem like long time ago, it’s been a mere 2 months since Obama took the oath. A lot has changed since. On the evening of January 20, the President and the First Lady whirled through his new backyard stopping off at several different parties, one of which was MTV’s, perhaps to give thanks to the demographic most responsible for his being elected. MTV on that night featured three separate community service projects including the building of a library in DC, a home in New Orleans and a computer lab in Lihanda, Kenya, a Millennium Village in the western part of the country. The project is a joint venture by the Earth Institute, Millennium Promise and the UN Development Programme.

From start to finish the lab took just about a month to put together. It was a tremendous effort by our staff on the ground most notably, Richard Ogeda, our local education coordinator. You can see him in the video with the MTV host, Tim Kash. Take a look at the video and let us know what you think about the project and more broadly, the Millennium Villages.

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Henk J.Th. van Stokkom
15 years ago

Although I agree with Jeffrey Sachs his views, I am not convinced that the Millennium Villages Project will be enough ‘proof of concept’.
It has been tried and failed before.
Just because of the enormous impact of all international attention, like the Angelina Jolie’s of this world visiting the millennium villages, it is becoming a kind of self fulfilling prophecy.

At least that is my view after my visit to Sauri in November 2006 (Sauri is the first MVP village in Kenya, west of Kisumu).
But yes, as said, I agree on Sachs’s view that; “…more direct aid can dramatically reduce poverty in just a few years.”
While in the end we know extreme poverty is the result of corruption, mismanagement and weak institutions i.e. problems that should be attacked by everybody but can only change with enough political forces behind it.

Examples of direct aid to reduce extreme poverty I do believe in?

Henk J.Th. van Stokkom