Our vision becomes action through the Millennium Villages Project. Offering an innovative integrated approach to rural development, the MVP simultaneously addresses the challenges of extreme poverty in many overlapping areas: agriculture, education, health, infrastructure, gender equality, and business development.
For close to a decade, the MVP has worked closely with communities, local and national governments, multilateral organizations, and a global network of other public and private sector partners to address the inherently integrated challenges of rural development and demonstrate that progress towards the achievement of the MDGs in rural SSA villages can be made over a ten-year timeframe by promoting a comprehensive package of low cost, science-based interventions and practices in health, education, and agriculture; within the budget structure recommended by the UN Millennium Project.
Across 10 sub-Saharan African countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda) representing main agro-ecological zones, the MVP was set up to strengthen basic community-based systems for agriculture, health, education, and infrastructure and to improve the service delivery of these systems in resource-constrained rural areas by making targeted investments to build human, social, and community-scale physical capital, promote science-based interventions and practices, and improve management of service delivery systems.
The MVP was divided into two implementation phases. During the first five-year phase, the Project invested close to USD 110 per capita per year and focused on addressing challenges of availability of and access to basic services. In the second five-year phase, the level of investment decreased to USD 60 per capita per year with the Project prioritizing improving demand, continuity, and quality of basic services. The MVP developed a strong monitoring and evaluation system to be able to monitor progress towards its targets using extensive.
The primary aim of the Millennium Villages was to achieve the clear quantifiable endpoints in relation to the Millennium Development Goals in all Project sites, as a contribution to the fulfillment of the MDGs more generally. These site-based level targets for 2015 are a general translation of the MDG targets to the conditions of poor, rural subsistence farming communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
From 2005-2015, Millennium Promise provided the operational platform and resource mobilization for the Millennium Villages Project, alongside science and policy leadership from the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
Reaching more than 500,000 people in rural communities across sub-Saharan Africa over 10 years, the MVP deployed a holistic, science-based approach to accelerate progress toward sustainable development, with the Millennium Development Goals setting the course.
Currently, final evaluations of the MVP are being completed to measure the success of the Project’s interventions against MDG-based targets. The final results will begin to be made available in 2016. We expect to see impressive progress overall, and to learn valuable lessons that will inform future initiatives, including the many MVP-inspired replication and scale-up programs launching across sub-Saharan Africa.
At the same time, several of the MVP’s host country governments—including Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda—are working to scale up the Millennium Villages model to reach more communities. Other governments are working with Project staff to use components of the MVP approach to help with specific issues, such as the government of Guinea consigning the health team to help with the Ebola crisis by adapting the CommCare system to track cases of the disease. Additional scale-up and replication projects are expected to take shape over the coming years.
“Millennium Villages throughout Africa are showcasing… how effective an integrated strategy for health care, education, agriculture, and small business can be. We are seeing how to make the most of new technologies. And we are seeing how empowering women can empower whole societies… If other countries do all that you are doing, we can — and we will — achieve the Millennium Development Goals.”
– UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon during visit to the Millennium Village of Mwandama, Malawi, May 2010.