Millennium Villages Project

Harvests of Development in Rural Africa: The Millenium Villages After Three Years

Posted by ccarlon on Sep 20, 2011
Harvests of Development in Rural Africa: The Millenium Villages After Three Years data sheet 50 Views
The Earth Institute at Columbia University
Publication Date: 
May 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

At the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000, world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration, committing nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and address pressing challenges of hunger, gender inequality, illiteracy, and disease. The year 2015 has been affirmed as the deadline for reaching these Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets.


The goal is to show how an integrated approach to community-level development can translate the international MDG agreements into ground-level breakthroughs throughout rural sub-Saharan Africa. Villages are located in deeply impoverished rural areas that were considered hunger hotspots—with at least 20% of children malnourished. Sites were selected to reflect a diversity of agro-ecological zones, representing a range of challenges to income, food production, disease ecology, infrastructure, and health system development.


The Millennium Villages Project is a ten-year initiative spanning two five-year phases. The first phase focuses on achieving quick wins, especially in staple crop production and disease control, and on establishing basic systems for integrated rural development that help communities escape the poverty trap and achieve the MDGs. The Project involves the coordinated community-led delivery of a locally tailored package of scientifically proven interventions for agriculture, education, health, and infrastructure. Over the first five-year phase, interventions are delivered at a modest cost, totaling approximately $120 per capita per year, of which MVP brings about half to complement funds from the host government, the local community, and other partners. The second five-year phase will focus more intensively on commercializing the gains in agriculture and continuing to improve local service delivery systems in a manner that best supports local scale-up.

Every ChildCounts: The Use of SMS in Kenya to Support the Community-Based Management of Acute Malnutrition & Malaria in Children

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Jul 06, 2010
Every ChildCounts: The Use of SMS in Kenya to Support the Community-Based Management of Acute Malnutrition & Malaria in Children data sheet 2476 Views
Berg, Matt, Wariero, James, and Modi, Vijay
Publication Date: 
Oct 2009
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Baseline under five child mortality in Sauri, Kenya as of 2005 was estimated to be 148 deaths per 1000 live births. By 2008, the rate had dropped to 81 deaths per 1000 live births due to Millennium Village Project (MVP) interventions. A review of child deaths revealed that among other causes, such as malaria, acute febrile illnesses, diarrheal illnesses and HIV, malnutrition contributed to more than 50% of all child deaths. Community health workers (CHWs) led several interventions, namely community-based management of acute malnutrition, home-based testing for malaria and diarrheal illnesses and immediate dispersal of appropriate treatments.

To support these interventions, MVP ran a pilot project where CHWs were equipped with mobile phones to use SMS text messages to register patients and send in their data with the goal of improving child health and empowering community health workers. This report seeks to detail the methods used, illustrate early results and initial findings of the ChildCount mHealth platform that CHWs have now been using since early July of 2009.

In Search of a Mobile Telemedicine Platform: A Few Open Source Applications

Posted by Nadi.Kaonga on Apr 26, 2010

As part of a "Mobile Telemedicine" initiative undertaken by the Millennium Villages Project in Ghana, I have been researching and documenting existing software platforms that enable and support remote consultation activities.

How is mobile telemedicine defined?  According to the the Rockefeller Foundation,

Telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve patients’ health status or for educational purposes. It includes consultative, diagnostic, and treatment services.

Mobile health information technology (mHealth) typically refers to portable devices with the capability to create, store, retrieve, and transmit data in real time between end users for the purpose of improving patient safety and quality of care.

ChildCount: Monitoring Children's Health Through SMS

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Feb 22, 2010
ChildCount: Monitoring Children's Health Through SMS data sheet 7160 Views

Many mobile projects struggle with scale and impact. While a mobile health project may run well with a small number of patients in one hospital, expanding the scope of a project until it is large enough to have real impact takes money, time, and widespread support of key stakeholders in a given community.   ChildCount is well on its way to show scale and, so we hope, significant health impacts using mobile technology for patient support.

In a little over eight months, ChildCount has enrolled nearly 10,000 children under five in their catchment area into the ChildCount health monitoring system – an acceptance rate of more than 95%

Basic Information
Organization involved in the project?: 
Project goals: 

ChildCount's goals are to:

  • Register every child under five in a community into the ChildCount database
  • Screen those children for signs of malnutrition every 90 days
  • Monitor the children for the three major causes of death in children under five (malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia)
  • Group all children into age groups to streamline the immunization process
  • Record all local child births and deaths. 


Brief description of the project: 

ChildCount is a health monitoring system that targets pregnant women and children under five. ChildCount provides mobile phones to community health workers who then use SMS to manage data about patients, including health information, immunization records and disease symptoms. 

Target audience: 

The target audience is children under five and pregnant women in specific communities that are part of the Millennium Villages project in Africa.

Detailed Information
Length of Project (in months) : 
What worked well? : 

The project especially credits close relations with local community health workers as a key to its success. Also, RapidSMS and the Django platform allowed ChildCount to quickly update its services once the initial project changed into a larger-reaching plan. The project was able to get a more than 95% participation rate in the initial pilot.

What did not work? What were the challenges?: 

One challenge was adapting the program to target all the children in the catchment area, not just the ones who are at-risk. Another, major challenge, is developing the project into a sustainable model so that ChildCount can continue on without reliance on outside grants.