Analysis Of The Millenium Villages Project

2799 words - 12 pages

One of the largest problems with Sachs's project is the lack of credibility based off what I gathered in The Idealist, the MVP reports and other articles. I understand that Nina Munk never lived in the Millennium Villages for any extended period of time; a few times a year in the villages of Dertu and Ruhiira for two or three days at a time. There is no making up, however, of some of the serious problems that those two villages faced versus what was actually written on the Millennium Villages annual reports, some of which I read my self. According to an article from Foreign Policy magazine titled Does it Take a Village, Jeffrey Sachs never put in place a system of ongoing monitoring and ...view middle of the document...

Also stated in the very same report, “Additionally, as Dertu is one of the crossroads for pastoralists throughout the region, the MVP established the Dertu livestock market that serves as a major trading center for animals and other goods. Since its establishment in early 2008, the market has seen approximately $14,000 in profit each month as well as significant barter trading. This activity is a significant cash-generating opportunity for pastoralists in Dertu and around the region (2008 Annual Report p. 26).” The livestock market that supposedly generated '$14,000 in profit each month' never even took off and closed a couple months after it opened according to Nina Munk and Ahmed Mohamed due to some of those very same reasons mentioned before.
In other cases, while trying to find a solution to hunger, Sachs proposed nothing short of a Green Revolution in the Millennium Villages using India as a role model. In September 2006, the mainly banana-growing village of Dertu used the Millennium Village budget to allocate several tons of maize seeds and fertilizer to more than 7,000 households. By 2007, the results of the harvesting of maize were exponential, but as there were no storage facilities the surplus maize attracted hundreds of rats. Afterwards, the villagers refused to harvest maize again. As it turned out, it was hard enough getting them to harvest it in the first place since, although corn was popular in other parts of east Africa, the people of Dertu considered cornmeal as 'school food' or 'prison food.' Of course, much later in the 2010 Millennium Village report Harvests of Development in Rural Africa that highlighted the testimonies of success, one person dutifully stated that maize was being grown everywhere. In the village of Ruhiira of Southern Uganda, the people farmed and produced all the crops they were told to as well, but “pineapple couldn’t be exported after all, because the cost of transport was far too high. There was no market for ginger, apparently. And despite some early interest from buyers in Japan, no one wanted banana flour (Munk, p. 181).” Did Sachs or his staff look into this at all beforehand? Or were they just concerned about what cash crop they could grow? Even though Ruhiira's inhabitants were able to produce cardamom crops with fertilizer, there were no buyers as the crop was not organic. As Sachs's head of the MVP in Ruhiira, David Siriri, put it: he was failed by the markets.
I find it ironic that in his own book, The End of Poverty, Sachs talks about the West and how we have surged ahead of the rest of the world over the past two hundred years, and by doing so having created a ever growing divide between rich and poor nations. That we, because of our natural resources, our close geographic orientation, farming practices, etc. have succeeded. So therefore, he concludes, it is our duty to spread our practices to the rest of the world to alleviate their suffering. What about our own health problems, our debt,...

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