If you’re not intimately involved in the non-profit world, it’s very unlikely that you have a keen understanding of how non-governmental organizations (NGOs) serve those living in extreme poverty. It is an enormous and complex scene, so I thought it appropriate to provide a (very) brief backgrounder on one approach to poverty relief, the organizations involved, and where my assignment fits in.
In 2000, members of the United Nations made a commitment to end extreme poverty across the globe by achieving objectives known as the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 (www.un.org/millenniumgoals/). An independent advisory board led by Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, was then assembled to devise a plan of action to meet the ambitious goals within the given time frame.
The Millennium Villages Project (MVP) is one initiative of many focused on the attainment of the MDGs. MVP (www.millenniumvillages.org) aims to demonstrate in its fourteen clusters of villages across 10 sub-Saharan African countries that community-led, sustainable improvements enacted at the village level are fundamental to ending poverty.
The Earth Institute (www.earth.columbia.edu) is a founding partner of MVP but participates in many projects devoted to the progression of sustainable development. My assignment with the MVP Bonsaaso cluster in Ghana is coordinated and supervised through the Earth Institute.
Established in 2006, MVP Bonsaaso is comprised of 30 villages with around 35,000 residents. Out of the headquarters located in Manso Nkwanta, I will be working with 62 Community Health Workers (CHWs), several Community Health Nurses (CHNs), and their supervisor, also based out of the offices at headquarters.
I hope that this incredibly broad overview helps provide a background that will facilitate understanding of future posts about my assignment. There may or may not be a quiz later. I suggest checking out some of the links provided just in case.