This week PEOPLE goes to the African nation of Malawi, one of the poorest countries on earth, for a special report on the Millennium Villages project. Under the direction of antipoverty crusader Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, a United Nations adviser, it has a simple but staggeringly ambitious goal: to wipe out poverty in a world where almost half the population exists on $2 or less a day and millions die each year from malnutrition and diseases that, in richer countries, are easily cured. Sachs—who has enlisted such celebrities as Bono and Angelina Jolie
in his cause—targets the most impoverished towns and villages, chosen on factors such as location and agricultural needs, and provides the people there with the materials and expertise to build healthier, more prosperous lives. One such community is Gwengwere, Malawi, where correspondent Mary Green spent three days on the ground watching a new Millennium Village take root and following the story of Gift Msunzi, a 3-year-old boy with malaria, and his family as they raced to save his life. "This family's ordeal was heartbreaking," says Green. "I saw firsthand what happens when people, especially children, don't have basic needs, like food, water and medicine."
How will life in Malawi change? Later this year PEOPLE plans to return, to see whether high hopes pay off in tangible results. For more on Malawi, including Green's online reporter's notebook and a photographic portfolio, log on to www.people.com/malawi.
LARRY HACKETT, MANAGING EDITOR
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