The recently published midpoint evaluation report on the Millennium Villages Project leaves a lot to be desired, Laura Freschi writes on the “Aid Watch” blog.
The report evaluated the progress of the Millennium Villages Project over a three-year period and found progress in all sectors, Freschi says.
The short-term results shown by the report are positive because they describe real and immediate changes in the lives of the villages’ residents, but these results are not very useful, according to the associate director of the Development Research Institute.
“Three years is too short a period to know how to interpret this dramatic increase in maize yields, for example,” Freschi says. “Is this consistent with normal variation in crop yields? Was 2006 an unusually good or bad year for maize? We don’t know.”
The results of the study also do not give readers information on whether the Millennium Villages Project or similar initiatives need to be given more resources, Freschi observes.
The DRI official also opposes the report’s recommendation to scale up the Millennium Villages Project, arguing that it is too early to make the call.
Freschi takes to her previous argument that “the MVP should live up to their promise to be a ‘proof of concept:’ to be seriously and independently evaluated, and proven to work—beyond immediate short-term effects—before it is scaled up.”