The Millennium Villages: Lessons on Evaluating Integrated Rural Development

Published on 30 September 2018

Integrated development projects seem to have largely fallen out of favour since their heyday in the 1970s and 1980s. Integrated projects are by their nature often complex and messy – and this has thrown up challenges for researchers and evaluators attempting to assess the benefits of simultaneous implementation.

This IDS Bulletin explores recent evidence on integrated approaches in rural development. One of the observations in writing this IDS Bulletin, is how much the evidence base has improved, and there is now a greater understanding of where knowledge gaps exist. Amongst other examples, this IDS Bulletin looks at lessons from evaluating the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) in northern Ghana. The MVP was initiated in 2005 to implement the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in rural villages in sub-Saharan Africa. The MVP is seen as being one of the most prominent examples of integrated development in recent years, with new evidence now emerging about its effectiveness. Meanwhile, there is a renewed interest in interconnectedness, including finding ways that work across different sectors in order to implement the current Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Inherent in the SDGs is the recognition that the goals are interdependent, although it is noted in the articles here how integrated development approaches have yet to resonate fully with the SDG agenda. The articles are deliberately diverse, covering everything from systematic reviews to randomised trials, to mixed method designs and immersion approaches. When reviewed together, they highlight several reoccurring themes, including: the challenge of assessing synergy effects; the cost-effectiveness of integration; the value of mixing methods; and dealing with multiple outcomes on different timelines.

Table of contents

Richard Longhurst

Introduction: Lessons from the Millennium Villages Evaluation; Where Next for Integrated Development?
Chris Barnett

Integrated Development, Past and Present
Edoardo Masset

The Cost-Effectiveness of Complex Projects: A Systematic Review of Methodologies
Edoardo Masset, Giulia Mascagni, Arnab Acharya, Eva-Maria Egger and Amrita Saha

Assessing Value for Money in Integrated Development Programmes –
The Case of a Millennium Villages Project in Northern Ghana
Arnab Acharya and Tom Hilton

Abductive Reasoning to Explain Integrated Development: Lessons from the Multi‑Method Evaluation of the Millennium Villages Project
Dee Jupp and Chris Barnett

Can Immersion Research Add Value in Understanding Integrated Programme Interventions?
Dee Jupp, David Korboe and Tony Dogbe

Learning About Integrated Development Using Longitudinal Mixed Methods Programme Evaluation
Emily Namey, Lisa C. Laumann and Annette N. Brown

Applying Factorial Designs to Disentangle the Effects of Integrated
Holly M. Burke, Mario Chen and Annette N. Brown

Cite this publication

Barnett, C (Ed) 2018, Lessons from the Millennium Villages Evaluation: Where Next for Integrated Development?, IDS Bulletin 49.4, Brighton: IDS


Chris Barnett

Honorary Associate

Publication details

published by
IDS Bulletin, volume 49, issue 4
0265 5012


About this publication

Programmes and centres
Centre for Development Impact

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