MCI Releases Final Publication

After 10 years of work in 11 regional and national capitals across sub-Saharan Africa, the Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI) is pleased to announce the release of our final report, Improving Lives in Sub-Saharan Cities: A laboratory in global urban development.

This publication, which opens with an overview of both MCI’s approach and the particular economic and geopolitical context that motivated our founding and establishment at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, looks in some depth at our research findings and our resulting targeted programs in the areas of education, gender, health, private sector development and urban ecosystems. Our focus from the beginning has been to build capacity so that selected, secondary sub-Saharan cities might accelerate their progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); this report summarizes our efforts to do exactly this: first, by helping each participating city ascertain its distance from MDG attainment, then by bringing in and devising effective strategies aimed at achieving the Goals for all Millennium City residents, in low-cost, low-tech, sustainable ways.

As you will find in this volume, time and again our best teachers have been these Millennium City residents, who have shared with us vital information regarding their neighborhood’s history, cultural underpinnings, effective and trusted community leaders and associations, and how they cope, on far too regular a basis, with periodic hardship, infrastructure shortfalls or natural disaster. What we have learned from these citizens has richly informed our research findings, ensuing programming and outcomes; we hope only that MCI has contributed as much back to them that can lead to significant tangible outcomes for their families and communities.

We have had many other valuable teachers, as well: all the Millennium City mayors, able department heads and administrators who spent time initiating and orienting our teams of faculty and students to the ways of their city; vibrant universities in nearly every Millennium City that Columbia University has been honored to call its partner; the many international non-governmental organizations and agencies, multi-national corporations and local community-based organizations that have all been our tireless partners; countless generous individual funders; the Governments of Finland and Israel, with whom MCI’s remarkable bilateral partnerships have been uniquely profound and durable; and our many colleagues at the Earth Institute and across Columbia University, who have been so immensely helpful.

To our many friends over these many years, we thank you for your interest and partnership; MCI’s website will remain housed at the Earth Institute, for those interested in one of our reports or in pursuing a similarly focused development path.

With our very best wishes for success in the development of all the Millennium Cities, and with our special thanks to all the wonderfully ingenious and resilient people who have taught us so much, and whose futures, we hope, are made easier and more promising for our influence.

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