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Sustaining and scaling up Millennium Villages: Beyond rural investments

Briefing/policy papers

Written by Eva Ludi

The Millennium Villages Project (MVP), brainchild of The Earth Institute headed by Jeffrey Sachs, aims to demonstrate that meeting the MDGs is possible. The project supports an integrated package of proven interventions in African villages to lift inhabitants above the poverty threshold, at a cost of $120 per capita per year for five years. The MVP experiment concentrates resources at the community level, prioritising these investments, at least initially, over complementary ones in rural–urban linkages (such as infrastructure and market access) and institutional reforms. This Project Briefing reviews the potential for the MVP approach to be scaled up and is based on case studies from Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi and Uganda, focusing on agriculture and health, with support from the Open Society Institute, a major sponsor of the MVP. The findings confirm the numerous successes of the approach, and calls for plans to scale up rural investments on the basis of ongoing dialogue and analysis, involving a watchful civil society, in the wider political and institutional environment. It includes clear recommendations for next steps for the MVP itself, for governments, and for donors.

Kent Buse, Eva Ludi, Marcella Vigneri