Millennium Villages Project Called Into QuestionBy Abraar Karan
The first major independent evaluation of the famous Millenium Villages Project (MVP) was released last year by Kenyan economist Bernadette Wanjala of Tilburg University in the Netherlands and has found an insignificant increase in household income in a Millennium Village compared to a control village. This is primarily because the increased agricultural production in the studied Millennium Village (Sauri, Kenya) was offset by a resulting over-reliance on agriculture and under-reliance on diversified, non-agricultural economic pursuits.
The MVP is arguably the most well-known, highly anticipated experiment to test whether rural African communities can escape the poverty trap through initial donor aid. The Project is a result of the work of Columbia University’s acclaimed Jeffrey Sachs, the UN Development Program, and the Millennium Promise NGO (founded by Sachs and Ray Chambers) and is dedicated to proving that the Millennium Development Goals are feasible by initiating multiple development projects on a microscale in select villages around sub-Saharan Africa.
Wanjala’s results, which are contrary to the MVP’s internal assessments, call into question whether our current attempts to eradicate extreme poverty are working at all.
Read a great article about this evaluation and the skepticism growing around the MVP here.
This was originally posted at www.swasthyamundial.com