Millennium Villege - Mayange, Rwanda.  Boy staring into camera.

In September 2000, the largest gathering of world leaders in history adopted the UN Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty. They set out a time-bound series of targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), with a deadline of 2015 for meeting them.

These goals are quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty, hunger, disease, inadequate shelter, while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability. They are basic human rights of all people on our planet to adequate health, education, shelter, and security.

In 2002, the United Nations Secretary –General, commissioned the Millennium Project, and its 8 basic goals:

1.Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

2. Achieve universal primary education

3. Promote gender equality and empower women

4. Reduce child mortality

5. Improve maternal health

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other disease

7. Ensure environmental sustainability

8. Develop a global partnership for development

There are twelve Millennium Villages in sub-Saharan Africa.In Rwanda, a Millennium Village cluster is located in Mayange, less than an hour’s drive from the capital of Kigali. Shortly before returning home, I spent a day touring a portion of this village. Located in Rwanda’s Bugesera District, the area is one of the most underdeveloped and arid parts of the country. With limited water access, one solution was to build cisterns between houses to catch water run off. The girl seen below is leaning against one of them. Gutters from homes on either side divert rain water into the cistern. At the bottom is a spigot for filling water cans.

Millennium Villege - Mayange, Rwanda.  Girl and Cistern

Fertilizers, drought resistant crops, and grafting techniques are utilized to help improve farm yields.The farmer below took us to his fields to show what crops he’s growing.

Millennium Villege - Mayange, Rwanda.  Farmer

Cassava, grown for its starch filled roots, is highly adaptable to these soils.

Millennium Villege - Mayange, Rwanda.  Cassava root.

Grafting fruit-bearing trees to native root stocks is also successful in this area. Avocado, mango, pomegranate, and orange grafts will become productive in as little as two years. Shown below is a newly grafted plant. The graft is the cut line on the midpoint of the stem, enlarged in the box on the lower right.

Millennium Villege - Mayange, Rwanda.  Fruit tree graft.

The school that serves this area has 700 students and 9 teachers.

Millennium Village - Mayange, Rwanda.  School #1.

Millennium Village - Mayange, Rwanda.  School #1.

Unique among the millennium villages, one of Mayange’s goals is to help heal the wounds of genocide.In one area we visited, homes were built by survivors and perpetrators working together. Today they live side by side in peace.The woman below lost her entire family.

Millennium Village - Mayange, Rwanda.  Survivor and son.

This man participated in the killing of seven people in the area. After serving ten years in jail, he is now welcomed in the community.

Millennium Village - Mayange, Rwanda.  Perpetrator.

The newly built health clinic and maternity ward serves the needs of the community. Millennium Village - Mayange, Rwanda.  New born child.

Other members of the village…

Millennium Village - Mayange, Rwanda.  Man leaning on hands.

Millennium Village - Mayange, Rwanda.  Dancer.

Copyright 2007 Adam Bacher. Absolutely no use without prior authorization. All rights reserved.