A story in The Mail on Sunday, yesterday (Sunday 14 October) referred to The Millennium Villages Project (MVP) in Northern Ghana, which ended last year after a robust and independent evaluation into its effectiveness.
The Millennium Villages Project (MVP) was set up in 2012 to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a forerunner of the Sustainable Development Goals, whose aim is to make the world a better place.
In The Mail on Sunday it is reported taxpayers’ cash was spent on 33 poverty-stricken villages in Ghana in a bid to transform lives.
The Department For International Development gave the paper a comment which read:
“The Millennium Village Project was set up in 2012 to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the forerunner of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, whose aim is to make the world a better place.
“The programme delivered against its programme targets, contributing to poverty reduction, but did not meet its ultimate aim of achieving the Goals.
“DFID stands by its decision to fund the project but accepts the robust, independent evaluation, which concluded it should be not be scaled up. The programme ended in March 2017.”
This is not the first DFID-funded programme to undergo independent evaluation and it won’t be the last.
DFID is committed to results-based programmes that achieve impact and value for money.
Owen Barder, vice president of the Center For Global Development tweeted on the back of the story: “It is to the credit of @DFID_UK that they (alone among donors, as far as I know) insisted on a proper evaluation of the Millennium Villages Project as a condition of UK support, which is what enables us to reach this conclusion."
Earlier this year, ICAI reported that DFID has pioneered steps to drive better value for money in the international aid system, going further than other donors in building value for money considerations into its programmes and encouraging others to do the same.
Moreover, DFID plans to save almost £500 million in efficiency savings by 2019/20, higher than the target set in the 2015 Spending Review. It is on track to meet these savings.
Since 1990, 669 million deaths have been prevented as a result of aid, in all its various programmes and the various forms it takes. The UK can take credit for helping prevent 46 million of these deaths. We can be proud of this.
What is clear from The Mail On Sunday’s article is that work must continue to evaluate, measure and improve the value of projects we fund.
We must prove that aid works.