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Nigerian newspaper This Day Live publishes article on Global MPI 2014

The Nigerian newspaper This Day Live has published an article on the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2014. The Global MPI briefing for Nigeria was referenced by former minister of the National Planning Commission Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman, who delivered a keynote address in Abuja at the 25th anniversary lecture of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation. Usman noted that policymakers need to empathise and have a feel of what poverty really is in order to design effective alleviation programmes.

The Global MPI, calculated by OPHI in June 2014, revealed that 43.3 per cent of the Nigerian population are multidimensionally poor, including 25.3 per cent who live in severe poverty. A further 19.3 per cent of the population are vulnerable to poverty. The findings also showed that 57.5 per cent of the multidimensionally poor in Nigeria live in rural areas.

Nigeria is a member of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN). Read more about Nigeria’s participation in the MPPN.

Further information

Read the full article published by This Day Live: ‘New Oxford Report Puts Nigeria’s Poverty rate at 43.3%’.

Find out more about the Global MPI 2014 and findings for Nigeria.


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OPHI’s Sabina Alkire appointed to professorship at George Washington University

OPHI is delighted to announce that Dr Sabina Alkire will be the inaugural holder of the Oliver T. Carr, Jr. professorship at the Elliott School of International Affairs as well as Professor of Economics, and of International Affairs, George Washington University (GWU). She will take up this post in January 2015 and for the next 20 months will hold a joint appointment at Oxford University, where she will continue as director of OPHI.

For the past several years, Dr Alkire has been working in partnership with Professor James Foster of GWU on multidimensional poverty measurement. Most notably, they developed the Alkire Foster Method for measuring multidimensional poverty, which has generated considerable international interest among both researchers and policymakers. Dr Alkire’s appointment at GWU is seen as heralding an ongoing collaboration.

Dr Alkire said: “I am honoured to accept the professorship at George Washington University and join the leading Elliott School of International Affairs. I look forward to working closely with colleagues at GWU and welcome the opportunity to build on OPHI’s accomplishments in the field of multidimensional poverty measurement and analysis.”

Dr Alkire has been the director of OPHI since it was founded in 2006.

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Nepal and Tajikistan join the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN)

Nepal and Tajikistan are the latest countries to have joined the global Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN), of which OPHI acts as the Secretariat. The global MPPN is a South-South initiative that supports policymakers to develop multidimensional poverty measures. It has a membership of 32 countries and 10 international organizations and agencies.

The government of Tajikistan is exploring the possibility of developing a multidimensional poverty measure and a representative of its Ministry of Economic Development and Trade participated in the OPHI summer school on multidimensional poverty analysis this past August in Oxford.  OPHI’s John Hammock will also travel to Tajikistan to meet government officials and to attend a conference in Dushanbe on 12 December 2014 to discuss multidimensional poverty measurement and policy.

The MPPN  was created in response to the overwhelming demand from policymakers for information on implementing multidimensional measures, and for technical and institutional support. The network was formally launched in Oxford on 6-7 June 2013, by President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, Professor Amartya Sen and high-level representatives from 22 governments. It is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), OPHI, and by network participants themselves.

Find out more about the work of the MPPN and its members.

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Review by OPHI researcher highlights need to expand the Indian food security safety net

The Indian Public Distribution System (PDS) – a food security safety net programme – should be expanded to include more multidimensionally poor households, a new paper  by OPHI’s Mihika Chatterjee has suggested.

Her research examines the performance of the PDS among 793 households in the district of Koraput, Odisha. The system aims to provide India’s poor with subsidised goods such as wheat, rice, kerosene and sugar.

The findings indicate that the PDS is functioning well in many areas of Koraput, with rice supplied regularly and approximately 69 per cent of women and 70 per cent of men reporting high levels of satisfaction with the scheme overall.

However, the research shows that a substantial proportion of vulnerable people in Koraput are excluded from the PDS, as they are not considered deprived by official measures. More than a third (37%) of multidimensionally poor households do not receive PDS benefits, yet they reported higher levels of food insecurity than those who do, including having to eat small meals and experiencing greater anxiety about running out of food.

Among these households, material deprivation and vulnerability is widespread. Fifty-eight per cent have at least one underweight child, while more than a third (36%) have a mother who is malnourished. More than half (53%) of the excluded households have no assets, including no mobile phone.

Chatterjee notes that these findings support the need to widen coverage of the PDS. She also suggests several other improvements to the programme, including increasing the availability of non-grain items like sugar and kerosene, and making recipients more aware of the benefits they are entitled to.

Read the full paper

An Improved PDS in a ‘Reviving’ State: Food Security in Koraput, Odisha’, by Mihika Chatterjee, was published in the Indian journal ‘Economic & Political Weekly’ on 8 November 2014.

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Free webinar on multidimensional poverty analysis: 19 November 2014

STRIVE, a research consortium investigating the social norms and inequalities that drive HIV, will host a free webinar on multidimensional poverty analysis on Wednesday 19 November 2014, 2.30pm GMT. Sabina Alkire, Director of OPHI, will present overall results from the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2014, as well as highlights from related studies.

Register online to join the seminar.

Using new datasets, the Global MPI has been updated for 31 countries in 2014, and calculated for two new countries. In total, it now covers 108 countries with data from 2002-2013, including 57 countries with data for 2009-2013.

Recent analyses of multidimensional poverty across these countries have covered a number of topics, including:

Further information

Read more about STRIVE’s work.

View infographics and resources on the Global MPI 2014.

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Now available: Podcast and presentation from special guest lecture on state capability

Michael Woolcock, Lead Social Development Specialist in the World Bank’s Development Research Group and Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, delivered a presentation on ‘The Art, the (Social) Science and the Politics of Building State Capability for Implementation’ as part of OPHI’s lunchtime seminar series.

The talk, on 4 November 2014, addressed an apparent paradox between development indicators that seem to be improving and measures of institutional quality that are flat or declining. It also explored the challenge of implementing policies in developing countries as opposed to just designing them, and outlined an alternative strategy for building state capacity for implementation.

The lecture was based on the paper ‘Looking like a state: Techniques of persistent failure in state capability for implementation‘, which won the 2014 ‘Best Article’ prize from the American Sociological Association’s section on international development.

Listen to a podcast of the special guest lecture and view the slides.

Find out more about upcoming OPHI lunchtime seminars.

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UNDP Ministerial Forum in Mexico focuses on Multidimensional Progress and its measurement

The seventh Ministerial Forum on Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, held on 30-31 October 2014 in Mexico City, focused on Multidimensional Progress in the region. The event included ministers from more than 30 Latin American and Caribbean countries who had come together to discuss an agenda for social and economic development. The vice-presidents of Uruguay and the Dominican Republic were among the participants.

In the keynote addresses, OPHI’s Sabina Alkire illustrated how national multidimensional poverty measures can be used as tools for policies; Gonzalo Hernandez Licona from the Mexican National Council for Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL) shared Mexico’s experience in using its multidimensional measure for policy; and Alicia Barcena from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) analysed the macroeconomic context and the need for policy innovation.

In a roundtable chaired by Enrique González Tiburcio of the Ministry of Social Development of the Government of Mexico (SEDESOL), ministers from Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela shared their experiences in using multidimensional tools for policy, reporting back to the plenary.

Substantive presentations were also made by senior dignitaries including:

• Helen Clark, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
• José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mexico
• Rosario Robles, Ministry of Social Development of the Government of Mexico (SEDESOL)
• Gonzalo Robles, Spanish Cooperation
• Jessica Faieta, UNDP
• George Gray, UNDP

The Ministerial Forum is a meeting organised annually by the UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, with support from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation. The forum aims to enable decision-makers to share experiences of social policies and address challenges in the region. This year’s forum will feed into a regional UNDP Human Development Report profiling multidimensional metrics and their use to spur social and economic progress.

This is the first year that the Ministerial Forum has taken place in Mexico. It was hosted by SEDESOL, which has used Mexico’s multidimensional poverty measure proactively, for example in the Crusade Against Hunger.

Download Sabina Alkire’s presentation: ‘Multidimensional progress in low and middle income countries

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Huffington Post publishes article on social isolation by OPHI Scholar in Residence, Kim Samuel

The Huffington Post has published an article by OPHI Scholar in Residence Kim Samuel titled ‘The Youngest Victims: Combating the Social Isolation of Ebola Orphans’, in which she presses for the global community to treat the outbreak of Ebola as not only a public health crisis but also a humanitarian crisis.

In the post, Samuel cautions against ignoring the emotional health of children affected by Ebola and highlights the social isolation they can face. She writes: ‘For younger children, the reality of being orphaned by Ebola is even worse. With no means to provide for themselves, they are dependent on adult care — yet even relatives are often too afraid to take them in. Children tell of being chased away by family, even though they’ve tested negative for the virus.’

Further information

Read the full article in the Huffington Post, published on 21 October 2014.

Find out more about OPHI’s work on social isolation as part of its research on the Missing Dimensions of Poverty.

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OPHI’s Sabina Alkire and John Hammock participate in symposium on isolation and social connectedness

OPHI Director, Sabina Alkire and OPHI Co-founder John Hammock participated in a Symposium on Overcoming Isolation and Deepening Social Connectedness, in Toronto, Canada.  Kim Samuel, a Scholar in Residence at OPHI was one of the organizers of the Symposium with the strong support of the Synergos Institute, TakingITGlobal and the Samuel Family Foundation. In its research OPHI has identified Social Connectedness as a Missing Dimension of poverty that is often overlooked and left unmeasured. The Symposium was held at Evergreen Brick Works, a community environmental centre in Toronto, Canada. The Symposium brought together an unusual mix of participants, ranging from representatives of NGOs and social inclusion groups working in Africa to private philanthropists as well as participants with learning disabilities to academics and representatives of the First Nations of Canada.

The Symposium focused three key themes: tracing linkages between social isolation and poverty, learning from stories of community resilience, and fostering a sense of belonging and reciprocity.  Sabina Alkire participated as a discussant in the conversation on the link betwee isolation and poverty. The Symposium heard a wide variety of participants on their experiences of isolation—and provided opportunities to hear the voices of young people, First Nation representatives and African leaders working in this area. The Symposium gave special focus to the role of the arts as a medium for giving voice to images of isolation and connectedness.  Participants ended the Symposium with a commitment to the need for further policy advocacy and research, particularly applied research at the individual, community and national level.

You can view a video of the discussion on social connectedness at the Symposium in which Sabina Alkire participated here.

You can read more about the Missing Dimensions of poverty here and see OPHI’s work on social isolation and shame and humiliation by clicking on the links provided.

You can also read OPHI Working Paper 67, Social Isolation: A conceptual and Measurement Proposal by clicking on the link.

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New OPHI briefing explores the composition of children in poor households

A new briefing note titled Are children among the poorest? by OPHI Researcher, Ana Vaz looks at how children are represented in households that are multidimensionally poor according to the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) of 2014. The Global MPI is an index of acute multidimensional poverty that assesses the nature and intensity of poverty at the individual level, by directly measuring the overlapping deprivations poor people experience simultaneously.

Using a sample of countries for which Global MPI was recently updated in 2014, the briefing note compares the age structure of the population and the age structure of the poor. The analysis shows that countries with highest levels of MPI tend to have a higher proportion of children under 10 years old, and a lower share of adults across the population. Additionally the briefing shows that the gap between the share of adults and the share of children under 10 among

the poor tends to be smaller in poorer countries. Thus the briefing finds that in the all the countries analyzed, children are especially likely to be poor.
You can read the full 3-pager briefing note here.
You can see results of the Global MPI 2014 here and consult the data tables for the calculations here.

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OPHI and MPPN propose light but powerful survey modules in support of the data revolution

The Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) and the Oxford Poverty Human Development Initiative (OPHI) have submitted the light but powerful household survey modules to the UN Secretary General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on Data Revolution for Sustainable Development UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked the Independent Expert Advisory Group to make concrete recommendations on bringing about a data revolution in sustainable development. 

The MPPN and OPHI developed these survey modules in response to the widely agreed need for a ‘data revolution’ post-2015. Previous drafts were launched in November 2013 and April 2014, and revised following extensive discussion and input.

The MPPN Post-2015 survey modules proposed aims to provide data that are:

  • Frequent and accurate – to be able to track changes over time and inform policy;
  • Representative at large-scale – so they can be disaggregated to leave no one behind;
  • Multi-topic  so they take an integrated, balanced approach, and are used to break policy silos;
  • Gendered – so they can provide data on women and men, and some data on girls and boys;
  • Internationally comparable core module reflecting key poverty-related draft SDGs
  • Flexible: able to incorporate additional modules and questions that reflect national priorities, such as a shortened consumption-expenditure module; or governance and political voice; the environment; empowerment; or social capital or child poverty;

OPHI and the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) propose these light survey modules to obtain frequent data from the same survey instrument on a subset of poverty-related SDGs. This thrice-revised survey modules reflects the technical, cultural, and political insights of MPPN members, and were deemed to be feasible and informative across a wide range of country contexts.

The household survey modules proposed could be used to collect data to underlie a new headline indicator of multidimensional poverty post-2015 – a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2015+, which could complement income poverty measures and show how the different dimensions of poverty interconnect and overlap.

You can read the proposed household survey modules in full HERE.

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Lunchtime Seminar Series for Michaelmas Term 2014 gets underway

OPHI’s lunchtime seminar series begins again on 13 October with ‘An Introduction to the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI)’, a talk by OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire.

Seminars will be held every Monday (with the exception of a special guest lecture on 4 Novmber) at 1pm for eight weeks, and will cover multidimensional poverty measurement techniques and their application in contexts including Chile, India and EU-SILC countries. The term will also include a special lecture by Lead Social Development Specialist at the World Bank, Michael Woolcok on state capbilities.

The seminars are held from 1-2pm in Seminar Room 2, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB. Everyone is welcome, and a complimentary sandwich lunch is available on a first come, first served basis.

For the full listings, please see the Seminar Series page on our website.

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New OPHI Research in Progress paper presents indices for Multidimensional Poverty for EU-SILC countries

A new OPHI Research in Progress paper titled “Multidimensional Poverty Measurement for EU-SILC Countries” by Alkire, S., Apablaza, M., and Jung, E. presents a set of experimental indices of multidimensional poverty, using EU-SILC data. The indices use the Alkire Foster (AF) methodology – a widely-used flexible methodology which can accommodate different indicators, weights and cut-offs.

The authors draw on existing EU-2020 indicators, as well as on indicators of health, education and lived environment. The time series data enable an analysis of multidimensional poverty dynamics, including analyses of changes in overall poverty and in indicators. All measures confirm that poverty decreased in average between 2006 and 2012 due to a strong reduction in the percentage of multidimensionally poor people. Results show that the poorest region is Southern Region of the continent followed by Eastern Europe. Results also show that the Northern area is consistently the least poor region regardless of the measure and cut-off.

You can read the full paper here. You can read more about other applications of the Alkire Foster method here.

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The Dominican Republic hosts discussion on Multidimensional Poverty

On 29 September, a group of ministers and key government leaders met to critically discuss and consider the benefits of a multidimensional poverty index in helping to form public policy and improve targeting of government resources. The discussion was hosted by the Vice President Dr Margarita Cedeño and accompanied by OPHI Director Sabina Alkire, who gave a distinguished lecture at the Presidential Palace on the same topic the same evening.  Both events are efforts by the government of the Dominican Republic to make known and spread support for a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).

Picture courtesy

During the visit, Alkire also met with the technical team that is working to design the national MPI, delving into the key issue of the choice of dimensions and indicators of poverty. OPHI wil provide technical assistance to the government’s efforts both to improve their data collection through an improved questionnaire and to develop the national MPI. You can read further about the lecture on the Vice President’s official website (in the Spanish language) here.

You can see coverage of Alkire’s visit in the Spanish language in the following media: DiarioDigitalRD, DomincaDigital.Net and Listin Diario.

The Dominican Republic is a member of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) that has proposed a new data collection tool in the development of a post-2015 multidimensional poverty measure. You can read more about the Network here and read the questionnaire here.

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Alkire-Foster method used to evaluate public health intervention in Mozambique

A new paper titled ‘Multidimensional Poverty in Rural Mozambique: A New Metric for Evaluating Public Health Interventions’ by Bart Victor and colleagues from the Vanderbilt University, World Vision International and Friends in Global Health, has used the Alkire-Foster method to evaluate public health interventions in Zambézia, Mozambique.

The paper has sought to demonstrate how multidimensional poverty measures can be utilized in the evaluation of public health interventions. Data for the paper were gathered by survey teams that interviewed a representative sample of 3,749 female heads of household across Zambézia in August-September 2010. The authors estimated a multidimensional poverty index (MPI) based on the Alkire-Foster method that enabled the measure to be disaggregated into context-specific indicators. The authors produced an MPI comprised of 3 dimensions and 11 weighted indicators selected from the survey. The results of the paper show that among the interviewees 58.2% of households were poor (29.3% of urban vs. 59.5% of rural). The dimension on living standard was the main contributor to overall deprivation, followed by health, and then education.

The paper thus shows that multidimensional poverty measurement can be integrated into program design for public health interventions. You can read a full version of the paper here.

You can read more about the Alkire-Foster measure and it’s various applications by clicking on the links.

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New OPHI Working Paper: Measuring Chronic Multidimensional Poverty

OPHI Working Paper No. 75, Measuring Chronic Multidimensional Poverty: A Counting Approach, by Alkire, Apablaza, Chakravarty, and Yalonetzky, looks at how indices of multidimensional poverty can be adapted to produce measures that quantify both the joint incidence of multiple deprivations and their chronicity. It adopts a new approach to the measurement of chronic multidimensional poverty: the counting approach of Alkire and Foster (2011) for the measurement of multidimensional poverty in each time period, and then the duration approach of Foster (2009) for the measurement of multidimensional poverty persistence across time. The Working Paper uses a Chilean panel dataset (1996-2006) to illustrate the utility of this new counting approach.

To access the paper, click here.

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Colombia hosts workshop on multidimensional poverty measurement for participants from Latin America

The Department for National Prosperity (DPS) of the Government of Colombia, the Inter-American Social Protection Network (IASPN), and OPHI co-organised a three-day workshop to explore Colombia’s experience with multidimensional poverty measurement and how it impacts social policy in the country.

OPHI Researcher Officers Gisela Robles Aguilar, Diego Zavaleta and Mauricio Apablaza participated in the workshop which was held in Bogota between September 17 – 19. It was attended by representatives of countries exploring national multidimensional poverty indices in the region, including Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The workshop included academic sessions on public policy applications of the index and statistical methods for calculating it, and a field visit to the town of Fusagasugá to visit families that have benefited from the ‘Red Unidos’ [United Network] social protection program. Beneficiaries of this program are identified and targeted through Colombia’s Multidimensional Poverty Index.

The objective of the workshop was for countries to share their experiences with other professional technicians and policy makers from Latin American countries regarding the construction of a multidimensional poverty index and the construction of a national application (based on the experience of Colombia).

You can see photographs taken during the event here , coverage on the Departamento para la Prosperidad Social (Department for Social Prosperity) website here and a short video clip here.

Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Uruguay and Organizacion de los Estados Americanos (OEA Organisation of the American States) are members of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN). You can read more about the MPPN’s advocacy of a post-2015 multidimensional poverty measure at the 69th UN General Assembly session here. More information can be found (in Spanish) by clicking here and here.

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Outcomes Document from the Special Side-Event at the 69th UN General Assembly

At a high-profile side-event attended by approximately 300 people at the 69th UN General Assembly, senior leaders from eight governments and institutions called on the UN to adopt a new multidimensional poverty measure to support the eradication of poverty in all its forms in the post-2015 development agenda.

Together officials from nations as diverse as Mexico, China, South Africa, Colombia, Ecuador and the Seychelles proposed that the next round of global development targets – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – should incorporate a new Multidimensional Poverty Index (the MPI 2015+).

For the full Outcome Document, CLICK HERE

To watch the full recording of the meeting, CLICK HERE

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International workshop to explore Colombia’s Multidimensional Poverty Index and its policy applications

The Department for National Prosperity (DPS) of the Government of Colombia, the Inter-American Social Protection Network (IASPN), and OPHI co-organised a three-day workshop to explore Colombia’s experience with multidimensional poverty measurement and how it impacts social policy in the country. It was held in Bogota between September 17 – 19 and was attended by representatives of countries exploring national multidimensional poverty indices in the region, including Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The workshop included academic sessions on public policy applications of the index and statistical methods for calculating it, and a field visit to the town of Fusagasugá to visit families that have benefited from the ‘Red Unidos’ [United Network] social protection program. Beneficiaries of this program are identified and targeted through Colombia’s Multidimensional Poverty Index.

More information can be found (in Spanish) by clicking here and here.

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Alkire & Foster have most cited paper in Journal of Public Economics.

Alkire and Foster’s 2011 paper “Counting and Multidimensional Poverty Measurement” is posted by the Journal of Public Economics as their most cited article. The paper proposes a new methodology for multidimensional poverty measurement, and uses examples from the US and Indonesia to illustrate. 

To read the article, click here.

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