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N.C. schools unite to fight poverty

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In a rare step away from athletic competition, students from Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have come together to lead an initiative to sponsor an impoverished village in Africa.

Greensboro’s Bennett College is also participating in the initiative, which is part of the United Nations’ Millennium Village Project.

Villages sponsored as part of the U.N. project undergo a 10-year development program designed by international experts and funded by individual sponsors and partnerships like the one undertaken by Duke, UNC-CH and Bennett.

The effort was sparked by a challenge from economist and humanitarian Jeffrey Sachs to raise $1.5 million by June 2007.

To date, the effort has raised $1 million from alumni and donors and has gained momentum students hope to use to inspire similar initiatives at other colleges and universities.

Sachs was scheduled to speak earlier this month at UNC and Duke, capping a week of student-organized events to raise awareness of the effort.

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