News Archive

posted 07/29/05

Ghanaian Villagers Making Their Way Out of Poverty

Jeffrey D. Sachs (center), director of The Earth Institute, was given the honor of cutting the ribbon to formally inaugurate the epicenter's new housing quarters for full-time nurses.

On Sunday, July 10, Jeffrey D. Sachs told an assembled crowd of hundreds at The Hunger Project’s Nsuta-Aweregya Epicenter in Ghana that he is confident they will achieve their vision of ending hunger and poverty by 2010. Sachs said that he and the UN Millennium Project will cooperate with The Hunger Project, and as an initial expression of partnership he is arranging for the epicenter to receive 6,000 bed nets to protect people from malaria.

Sachs’ delegation included representatives of the World Bank, IMF, WHO and UNDP; the Deputy Ambassador of the Netherlands; officials from Ghana’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and Ministry of Food and Agriculture, as well as Sachs’ family. Hunger Project Vice President for Africa Dr. Fitigu Tadesse and staff from The Hunger Project-Ghana accompanied the group.

Jeffrey D. Sachs, who is director of the UN Millennium Project and Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, visited the Hunger Project program at the special invitation of Joan Holmes. Sachs is also director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Sachs and the epicenter leaders discussed issues of direct relevance to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, including their child nutrition program, their effectiveness in using compost as organic fertilizer, and their strategies to improve food production and to transport their crops to market. The delegation toured the community farm, where the entire community works together to produce an abundance of crops which they contribute to the food bank to establish food security and protect against shortages.

At the epicenter health center, Sachs and his wife Sonia Ehrlich Sachs, a pediatrician, were able to see the ongoing program to keep all children current with their immunizations. Nurses there reported that there had been no deaths of either mothers or infants during the past four years in the epicenter delivery room -- a great achievement in a country where a disproportionate number of mothers and children die during childbirth.

Sachs spoke with women and men who serve on the long-established leadership teams responsible for managing each activity at the epicenter. The epicenter has a large number of women in leadership positions.

Jeffrey D. Sachs (left) spoke with the women responsible for the creation and leadership of the epicenter’s rural bank – one of the first women-owned and women-managed rural banks ever to gain government recognition in Ghana – and one of the very few such banks in all Africa.

Sachs also spoke with the women responsible for the creation and leadership of the epicenter’s rural bank – one of the first women-owned and women-managed rural banks ever to gain government recognition in Ghana – and one of the very few such banks in all Africa.

Hundreds of representatives from the eight villages traveled to the epicenter to welcome the delegation, eager to share what they are achieving. The delegation was received by the Paramount Chief --- a high honor for visiting dignitaries.The delegation was hosted by the Hunger Project’s Nsuta-Aweregya Epicenter in Ghana.

Like all 74 Hunger Project epicenters across Africa, the Nsuta-Aweregya Epicenter is an expression of The Hunger Project’s strategy that mobilizes and empowers local people to meet all their basic needs on a sustainable basis. For the past four years, the Nsuta-Aweregya Epicenter has mobilized 5,000 people from eight surrounding villages, located just over two hours outside the capital city of Accra.

The Earth Institute at Columbia University is the world's leading academic center for the integrated study of Earth, its environment and society. The Earth Institute builds upon excellence in the core disciplines — earth sciences, biological sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences and health sciences — and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Through research, training and global partnerships, it mobilizes science and technology to advance sustainable development, while placing special emphasis on the needs of the world's poor. For more information, visit www.earth.columbia.edu.