The Millennium Village of Toya is located about 30km from Timbuktu, one of Africa’s oldest and most famous trading and cultural centre. It is home to both sedentary and nomadic populations.
The area is characterized by very low and highly unpredictable rainfall patterns, with a 9 to 10-month dry season each year, coupled with frequent drought periods. Temperatures frequently reach as high as 40-50 Celsius, making for very difficult living conditions.
The area is comprised of two major farming systems: the rain-fed based system on sandy dunes and the irrigated rice-based system along the river floodplains. The main crop is irrigated rice. Livestock keeping is an important livelihood for many families as well, including cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, horses and camels. Millennium Village Project interventions began in Toya in January 2008.
- School attendance increased through community outreach and the school meals program.
- Hand-washing stations were installed at the schools, and HIV/AIDS and reproductive health education was provided.
- All four health facilities were refurbished and properly equipped, and they now provide some extent of free primary health services.
- A medical waste incinerator was constructed at the Issafaye Clinic as part of efforts to continue building health systems and infrastructure.
- More than half of the households received energy efficient cookstoves.
- A new borehole for drinking water was drilled, providing Toya with a second improved water source.