First, Bendavid writes that the MVP “was said to promote solutions derived from aloof economic models”. We would like to emphasise that the UN Millennium Project recommendations that served as the basis of the MVP came from leading specialists across many disciplines, including medicine, public health, agronomy, ecology, hydrology, civil engineering, business, economics, and others.3
Second, he writes that “on 30 of the 40 measures, the MVP villages are better off, on average, than the comparison villages”. In our data, the MVP villages were better off on 39 of 40 outcomes, on average, with 30 of these attaining the conventional criterion of statistical significance (95% uncertainty interval excluded zero).4
Third, the figure of US$600 million is cited in the Comment as the amount of investments over 10 years. According to our on-site spending data, the project spent $160 million over 10 years in the Millennium Village (MV) sites, or $32 per person per year on average. In the MV1s, which were the villages within the MV sites that formed the basis of the evaluation, on-site spending was an average of $46 per person per year. Governments, other donors, and communities also invested in the MV sites as well as in the comparison villages, but we do not know the spending in the comparison sites. This is a limitation of the impact analysis as we cannot compare the total spending in the MV1s and the comparison villages.
Finally, Bendavid notes that the MVP may have been “partly undone by its next of kin millennial: the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”, which “galvanised an enormous amount of goodwill and resources towards many of the same goals as the MVP”. The MVP was launched precisely to promote the MDGs at national and global scales and to demonstrate how the MDGs could be pursued. For example, the MVP helped to spur a Kenya-wide uptake in various disease-control measures.5 The MVP maintained an MDG policy dialogue with the national governments throughout the project.
I declare no competing interests.