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Sauri, Kenya
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Sauri, Kenya

Sauri Cluster: 11 Millennium Villages | 55,000 residents

Located in western Kenya, the Sauri cluster lies in Yala Division, Siaya District, Nyanza Province.  The general topography is undulating with ephemeral streams, rivers, and wetlands meandering through rounded hills. 

Sauri covers an area of 8 km2 and is a conglomerate of 11 villages.  Nearly all citizens are Kenyan from the Luo ethnic group.  The main languages spoken are Dholuo, Kiswahili, and English.  The average household size is 5 people.

Sauri has a strong community system, but lacks the revenue for basic services necessary to sustain economic growth. Most households are subsistence or sub-subsistence farmers, and many residents rely on remittances from people living and working outside of Sauri to supplement their meager farm incomes. Between 60 and 70% of the population live on less than $1 per day.

Village Characteristics by Sector

Agriculture is the primary livelihood for residents of Sauri.  Rainfall is bimodal and helps to define the planting seasons:  there is a long rainy season from March to June, and a short rainy season from September to December.  Land area per household for farming is usually less than 0.5 hectares, which is generally insufficient to support an average family.  Prior to the Millennium Village program launch, farmers produced an average of 82 kg of maize per person per year, a deficit of 18 kg per child and 38 kg per adult.  The main crop is maize; farmers also produce beans, sweet potatoes, bananas, plantains, cassava, kale, tomatoes and onions.

There are three primary schools within Sauri Millennium Village:  Bar Sauri, Nyamninia, and Bar Touro.  There is one secondary school near the western border of Sauri.  One of the schools (Nyamninia) has a connection to the electricity grid, but the others have no grid, generator, or other high-wattage electricity supply.  A limited school lunch program was in place prior to the start of interventions, but it was only available to less than 20% of primary students.

Sauri is beset by hunger, AIDS, and malaria.  Malnutrition and poor health plague the community; villagers have limited access to medical care and most cannot afford to buy the few medicines that are available.  The average distance to a clinic or medical care prior to the implementation of the Millennium Villages was 5 km over rough terrain. Yala Sub-District Hospital borders the sub-location, with a catchment area of 96,000 people. There was no medical doctor at Yala until January 2005, when the Millennium Village project brought one in to split his time between the hospital and the Sauri clinic.  Sauri is a holoendemic area for malaria, meaning that malaria is prevalent year -round.  Children carry a higher burden of morbidity and mortality than do the surviving adults who become partially immune.  In Sauri Cluster overall, Ministry of Health statistics show that 52% of cluster residents are afflicted with malaria, and 24% with HIV/AIDS.

Water sources in Sauri range from springs (protected and unprotected), shallow wells, piped water, and rainwater harvesting.  Springs are not easily accessible to the majority:  residents walk an average of 300m to a water source.  Some springs are surrounded by very steep slopes, which makes accessing them a difficult task.  Many homesteads have informal rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems with metal roof and gutters discharging into buckets or a metal drum.  However, approximately 20% of homesteads have only grass-thatched roofs, which do not allow for RWH.  The Yala River Piped Water Supply, an extensive water system drawing water from the Yala River, was installed by the government in the late 1970s.  Since then, it has rarely functioned properly or served much of the sub-location.  Recently the government repaired one turbine and installed a new one at the water pumping

National Impact
The positive experiences and lessons learned in Sauri are helping to catalyze support from the Kenyan national government, which has taken the initiative to expand the project to the district level. Nine Millennium Districts, including the Siaya District where Sauri is located, have been identified by the government as priority locations for scaling-up the project. Translating the success seen in Sauri to the district level is a crucial step being taken by the Kenyan government and is critical to the national effort for meeting the Millennium Development Goals and lifting millions of Kenyans out of extreme poverty.

Intervention Highlights
Some of the remarkable results achieved since the start of the project include:
Maize production in Sauri has more than tripled — from 1.9 tons/ha to 6.2 tons/ha — with the help of inputs such as fertilizer and improved seed.

A school feeding program has been implemented in all 28 primary schools across the Sauri cluster, and is now providing lunch to 17,514 students.  By offering nutritious, locally produced food, the program has directly led to increased school attendance and better academic performance.

Out of the district's 385 primary schools, Bar Sauri Primary School is now one of the top academic performers — jumping from a rank of 195th to the top 10.

Malaria prevalence in Sauri is down from 55 percent to 13 percent — due to distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets and improved clinics that can now facilitate malaria diagnosis and treatment.

Agriculture: Increase crop yields and decrease hunger

9,000 farmers trained in improved agricultural techniques.
760 tons of fertilizer and 72.6 tons of improved maize seed distributed to farmers in March 2006 (before the rainy season).
3.6 tons of fallow seed distributed to farmers to enrich fields.
Estimated average yield, 2006 harvest: 6 tons per hectare (estimated 400% increase over previous yields).

Education: Increase enrollment and improve quality
Plans are in place to launch a school feeding program that will reach approximately 15,000 primary school pupils beginning in January 2007.  Maize for school lunches is provided by local farmers, who donate 10% of their yield to school feeding programs as part of an agreement to receive subsidized seed and fertilizer.  Based on experience, a school feeding program should contribute to improved school enrollment and attendance because parents are given incentives by the guarantee that children will have at least one hot meal a day.
Health: Increase access to basic clinical services

22 clinic staff members have been hired and trained.
3 community health workers have been hired and trained.
2 health clinics in the cluster have been renovated.
3 health clinics are being planned for construction.
4 health clinics have been re-stocked with equipment to be fully operational, or necessary equipment has been ordered.

In addition, Yala Sub-District Hospital has benefited a great deal from the Millennium Villages program with an influx of resources, which are also supported by the Kenyan Ministry of Health.  In addition to a doctor, there are now 7 new staff members: 2 clinical officers, 2 laboratory technologists, and 3 nurses.  A new 32-bed ward, operating theatre, and incinerator were also constructed and have served to greatly enhance hospital facilities.

Health-Malaria: Decrease malaria incidence through prevention, training, and treatment
32,000 long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets were distributed in August 2006.
77 community health workers have been trained in bed net usage.
10,000 community members have been trained in bed net usage.
Water:  Increasing access to safe water sources
Community members are currently working with cluster staff to map existing water points to begin to implement community action plans to increase access to safe water.