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

Volume 49 Number 4
Published: November 13, 2018
This IDS Bulletin explores recent evidence on integrated approaches in rural development. Since the 1970s, holistic and multisectoral programming has been based on the synergistic potential of achieving more through a ‘big push’ of doing lots together. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also suggest a greater need to understand and address interconnectedness across different sectors. Drawing extensively on a recent impact evaluation of the Millennium Villages Project in northern Ghana, this issue presents a series of articles on the challenges of evaluating integrated development. The articles explore the challenge of assessing synergy; the cost-effectiveness of integration; the value of mixing methods; and dealing with multiple outcomes on different timelines. This introduction concludes by suggesting a narrower testing of combinations of interventions in different contexts, and incrementally building the evidence base; rather than ‘doing everything together’, where a lack of impact combined with weak mid-range theory can limit learning about what works and why.


  • Evaluation
  • Millennium Villages
  • Rural
From Issue: Vol. 49 No. 4 (2018) | The Millennium Villages: Lessons on Evaluating Integrated Rural Development