The Daily Mail today retracted its false claim about the Millennium Villages Project. On June 29, the tabloid had claimed that every family in the Millennium Villages located in northern Ghana receives 7,500 pounds from the project care of the UK taxpayer. This was a reckless and false assertion, made after we had warned the paper that it was incorrect.
The paper published it anyway. Both the headline figure and the very concept were false. In fact, the UK taxpayer, through DFID, will fund 9.5 million pounds of investments in some impoverished villages in northern Ghana in what is called the SADA region. (Another 2 million pounds will be used by DFID for monitoring, evaluation, and technical support, rather than spending in the villages). For a population of around 27,000 today (and likely to grow to around 30,000 during the project), the amount of DFID investment per person is around 1.40 pounds per week. For a family of five persons over five years, the cumulative sum is around 1,760 pounds over the entire project, less than one fourth of the Daily Mail's false claim. Moreover, households do not "get" the DFID funds. They are used to build clinics, control malaria, educate children, improve farm yields, and help the community to stand on its own feet in the long term. There were many other errors in the story despite our prior warnings to the paper. We encourage the public to watch the progress of the project for themselves at www.millenniumvillages.org