Millennium Villages Project Briefing Paper No.3: Was it cost-effective?

This Briefing Paper is the third in a series to communicate key points from the independent impact evaluation of the Millennium Villages Project (MVP). The MVP aimed to demonstrate that rural Africa could address poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through low-cost, science-based interventions at the village level.

This mixed method impact evaluation of one MVP site in Northern Ghana took place over more than five years. The evaluation consisted of a statistically representative survey of over 2,000 households within 35 villages in the project site and 68 comparison villages. It also included three longitudinal qualitative studies that collected evidence on institutional change, a range of welfare measures and local perspectives (see MVP Briefing Paper 8). Undertaken by Itad, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and Participatory Development Associates Ltd (PDA Ghana) and commissioned by DFID, it is anticipated that the findings will be of interest to a wide range of people in the development sector.

This Briefing Paper is about the cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) that was conducted as part of the evaluation process. Few studies even attempt to do a CEA of complex interventions such as the MVP, as demonstrated in a systematic review undertaken by the evaluation team.1 Challenges around lack of comparability, the complexity and scale of interrelated interventions, and assessing long-term impact beyond the life of the project mean the CEA, therefore, has certain inevitable limitations. Nevertheless, it is possible to draw some conclusions.

Read the full report, other briefing papers and annexes on our resources page.