The debate over the Millennium Village Project (MVP) turned the burner on high this month with more people jumping in to question how they are being evaluated. Michael Clemens and Gabriel Demombynes put out a paper saying that the evaluation design is flawed and were even set to have a public debate with Sachs until the event fell apart.
Things really picked up with Madeline Bunting writing about the debate in the Guardian Development on October 10. She writes:
As part of the announcement this week, the MVP proudly claimed that malaria in its villages had fallen by 72%, access to clean water had more than tripled, and average maize yields had doubled. All of this was achieved on a budget of $60 a head per year, according to the project. The next stage of funding will build on business and enterprise to help villages to link better to the wider market. Soros punched the point of this huge programme home: here was a model that was replicable and could be scaled up across Africa.
But it is on this last point that questions continue to dog the project. Is it replicable and does it really serve as the model for development? The handling of those questions has been pretty brusque.Noting the questions raised by Clemens and Demombynes, she alludes to the fact that the claims may not be substantiated.[view whole blog post ]