It takes a village

It takes a village is an idiom popularized in the West in the 1990s. We will examine the meaning of the common saying it takes a village, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

It takes a village is an idiom that means many people must cooperate to achieve a goal. Usually, quoting the idiom it takes a village is used to indicate that one is acknowledging other peoples’ roles in the success of a project. The expression it takes a village is an abbreviated form of a proverb: It takes a village to raise a child. This expression is generally considered an African proverb common to many African cultures. For instance, the Nigerian Igbo proverb is “Oran a azu nwa,” which means “It takes a community to raise a child.” In Tanzania, the Bahaya say, “Omwana taba womoi,” which means “A child belongs not to one parent or home.” Many other African cultures have similar proverbs. The expression it takes a village was popularized in Western culture in the 1990s, when Hillary Clinton published her book, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us.

Examples

It takes a village: Second Mesa Day School celebrates students, community during Native American Heritage Month (The Navajo-Hopi Observer)

“And, the problem is way too big, and it takes a village to come together — from areas like education and police — to help these people who are suffering every day and learn about it. (The Tulsa World)

It takes a village, and I am grateful that our village understands the gravity of the current situation and is willing to join together for the students and staff of Dell Rapids Schools. (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader)