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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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High-Level Panel to Make the Case at the UN for a New Poverty Measure

As the UN General Assembly meets this week in special session to discuss post-2015 development goals, OPHI is involved in a high-level international panel  being brought together in UN Conference Room 1 on 25 September to showcase country experiences of a new, more comprehensive approach to tackling poverty in all its forms, not just income poverty. This is organised under the aegis of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) and is being hosted by the Governments of Mexico, Dominican Republic and Germany under the title “Universal Multidimensional Poverty Measurement for the Effective Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals”.  It will be addressed by the Mexican Foreign Secretary among other distinguished speakers. For more information on the panellists please see the OPHI news release here.

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New Research in Progress Paper and OPHI Working Paper Examine Questions of Data Sources and Availability

OPHI has published two new papers.

1) OPHI Working Paper No. 72: “Mobilizing the Household Data Required to Progress toward the SDGs” by Sabina Alkire and Emma Samman. This paper notes that data on poverty-related SDGs are not updated frequently, nor are the data always available promptly. It reviews the key non-census data sources underlying the MDGs – household surveys (national and international), and administrative and registry data – to assess which data sources could provide the more frequent data required to design and coordinate policies, measure, manage, and monitor progress towards the poverty-related SDGs. It also reviews new data sources such as opinion polls ‘big data’, satellite data, call records, and other digital breadcrumbs to see how these might augment the information required to assess progress in the SDGs. The paper concludes that high quality multi-topic household surveys complemented by interim lighter surveys have a demonstrated ability to collect the core indicators of human poverty at an individual and household level in a rigorous way, so are likely to remain a core component of the data framework.

2) OPHI Research in Progress Series 43a: “Towards Frequent and Accurate Poverty Data” by Sabina Alkire. This paper looks at the idea of data availability as playing a crucial role in the fight against poverty. It recognizes that data quantity and frequency has increased over the past thirty years, but still lag behind the data available for many other economic phenomena. This paper points out existing experiences that shed light on how to break the cycle of outdated poverty data and strengthen statistical systems. Such experiences show that it is possible to generate and analyse frequent and accurate poverty data that energizes and enables poverty eradication.

For other OPHI Working Papers, click here. For other OPHI Research in Progress Series, click here.


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Launch of the Post-2015 ‘Light-Powerful’ Household Survey

The Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) and OPHI, which acts as the Network’s Secretariat, have launched the third collaborative draft proposal for a light but powerful household survey, 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.

Today, OPHI is pleased to announce the release of the final version of the proposed Post-2015 Light-Powerful Household Survey.

For full information about the Survey, click HERE.

The Survey itself is available by clicking HERE.


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OPHI Researchers conduct training in Kigali, Rwanda

OPHI’s Research Officers Adriana Conconi and Diego Zavaleta delivered two training sessions in Kigali, Rwanda organised jointly with UNDP-Rwanda.

The first 3-day course was delivered to faculty members of the University of Rwanda by OPHI Research Officer Diego Zavaleta. The course focused on the evolution of the concept of human development and different ways in which it has historically been measured and analysed. The second 3-day training led by OPHI Researcher Adriana Conconi introduced the concept of multidimensional poverty and presented the Alkire-Foster methodology of poverty measurement. Participants in the training worked in groups to develop their own multidimensional poverty index for Rwanda using micro-data from household surveys.

You can see teaching material on these and many other topics on OPHI’s online training portal accessible here.


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OPHI annual Summer School on Multidimensional Poverty in Oxford, UK

OPHI has finished teaching its annual two week summer school on multidimensional poverty in this month from 11-23 August, at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. Seventy one people participated in the course, including statisticians from international development organizations, students, policy makers and technical experts from government offices from around the world.

Country representatives came from individual country governments including Bangladesh, Cameroon, Chile, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ehtiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Peru, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay and Zambia. International organisations represented at the school included United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) national offices, Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), Islamic Research and Training Institution, Islamic Development Bank (IRTI-IDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Economic Commission for Latin American Countries (ECLAC).  A number of these countries and organisations are members of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network.

The purpose of this intensive summer school was to provide a thorough conceptual and technical introduction to some techniques of measuring multidimensional poverty with a strong emphasis on the Alkire-Foster method. Participants revised axiomatic poverty measures, and  learnt about the different techniques of multidimensional poverty measurement. Participants devised their own multidimensional poverty measure that drew on Amartya Sen’s capability approach.

You can read Sabina Alkire’s blog post on the summer school here.

Presentations delivered during the summer school are available to view on the OPHI Summer School 2014 page. Photographs and videos from the summer school will be made available shortly.

To keep updated about the next summer school and how to apply, join OPHI’s mailing list by entering your email address here.

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OPHI’s John Hammock visits Accion Joven Foundation in Costa Rica

While in Costa Rica John Hammock visited the community of Carpio–one of San Jose’s most notorious slum communities. He visited a youth rescue program with the Accion Joven Foundation, a private NGO that works to bring and keep impoverished youth in school. John was able to talk to these teenage boys who used to be in gangs but who have now turned to support each other as they go back to school or get jobs. Rescuing kids from poverty is the work of this energetic Costa Rican foundation. Giving governments the tools to better reach these kids and others is what the MPI is all about.

la foto

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Dominican Republic to establish a national MPI

Yesterday, the Vice President of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, at a Conference with 200 participants, mostly from social development agencies in the country and with participation of the UNDP, the World Bank, and OPHI Co-Founder John Hammock, stated that the government, led by the Social Council of the Government, will begin to develop multidimensional poverty measures in conjunction with the OPHI team and Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network.

She stated: “…we wanted to bring together all of the institutions that use…poverty measurement tools, and the data they collect, so that together we can refine this instrument and better capture information that is useful for making strategic decisions.” “These methodologies,” she continued, “allow for a focus on combating poverty that will make politicians [and public policy] more efficient and transparent.”

She further recognized in her speech that just because a person has money in his pocket does not necessarily mean that he is not poor; rather, combating poverty involves making sure that people can live with the dignity they deserve as human beings.

Lorenzo Jiménez de Luis, representative of the UNDP in the Dominican Republic further stated; “What we hope to do is introduce a new mechanism such that the surveys done by SIUBEN reflect the new criteria…[so that in 2015] we can launch a report about human development in the Dominican Republic based on multidimensional poverty.”

In the last two years, income poverty has been reduced in the Dominican Republic from 42.2% to 36.6%, and extreme poverty from 11.1% to 8.6%. Despite this success, the Vice President wants to continue improving the situation of poverty in the country.

In his talk in the conference John Hammock highlighted that income poverty is not a good proxy for all dimensions of poverty and stressed the impact the MPI has had in the countries that have adopted it.

OPHI has now agreed to form a new working partnership with the Government of the Dominican Republic, and looks forward to future successes in terms of poverty reduction in the country.

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MPPN Meeting in Berlin Leads to Adoption of MPI in Two New Countries

OPHI is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with the Government of Costa Rica. The country is committed to reducing inequality and extreme poverty, and as such has decided to adopt the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) as the national poverty measurement.

Facilitated by the Minister of Human Development and Social Inclusion, the Director of the Asociación Horizonte Positivo, OPHI Co-Founder John Hammock, and witnessed by the Second Vice-President, and the President of the Republic, this agreement represents the beginning of what will hopefully be a bright, creative, and dynamic working relationship between OPHI, Costa Rica, and the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN).

Second Vice President and President of Costa Rica

OPHI is equally as pleased to announce that it has facilitated a similar agreement with the Government of Honduras. Signed by the Minister of Coordination of the Presidency, this document represents yet another country that has actively decided  to reduce poverty in its many forms.

Both Costa Rica and Honduras attended the MPPN Meeting in Berlin in July 2014, and quickly decided to adopt the MPI measure in their respective countries. These agreements are testament to the overwhelmingly positive outcomes that have been achieved through the MPPN since its creation in June 2013.


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OPHI wins ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize: watch video

OPHI is very grateful to have been awarded the Economic and Social Research Council Celebrating Impact Prize. This prize is awarded to ESRC-funded researchers who are achieving outstanding economic and societal impacts through their work. OPHI was awarded the Outstanding International Impact award for its continued work towards measuring poverty multidimensionally, in the hopes of designing more effective poverty-reduction programs. For more on ESRC, click here. Watch the video describing OPHI’s work below

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New OPHI Working Paper on shame, humiliation and isolation in poverty anlaysis

OPHI has published a new Working Paper No. 71 titled ‘Shame, humiliation and social isolation: Missing dimensions of poverty and suffering analysis’ authored by China Mills, Diego Zavaleta and Kim Samuel Johnson.

While people living in poverty talk about isolation, shame, and humiliation as being key aspects of their lived experiences of suffering, until recently, there has been no international data on these aspects – making them “missing dimensions” within poverty analysis and within research into suffering. Drawing upon international fieldwork and datasets from Chile and Chad, this paper examines the relevance of social isolation, shame and humiliation in contexts of poverty, to research on suffering. The authors suggest that the use of particular indicators of shame, humiliation, and social isolation can better recognize distributions of suffering. It can also help identify individuals and sub-groups within those living in multidimensional poverty – or of the general population at large – that are affected by concrete and particularly hurtful situations. Consequently, they can help to identify levels of suffering which are higher within a specific population. The authors argue that these types of indicators could form the basis of more refined measures that help generate more concise data on suffering.

You can read the full paper here and you can read more about the Missing Dimensions of Poverty here.

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Hon Dr. Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia to champion multidimensional poverty

At the annual meeting of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) held in Berlin this July, the Honourable Dr Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia pledged to be an international champion of multidimensional approaches to measuring and eradicating poverty. The Prime Minister gave a keynote address at the gathering of high-level representatives from over 20 governments around the world. In the address he noted the utility of multidimensional measures in capturing the complex reality poor people live in the Caribbean and the world over. In his speech, Dr Anthony also outlined plans, led by the Chief Statistician of Saint Lucia, to develop a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for the Eastern Caribbean region.

For the full story please visit the MPPN website where you can read the transcript of the speech and watch the video of the keynote address.

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New research paper proposes a measure of ‘destitution’ among the poor

OPHI has published a new Research in Progress Paper 42a titled ‘Measuring destitution in developing countries: An ordinal approach for identifying linked subset of multidimensionally poor’ by Sabina Alkire, Adriana Conconi and Suman Seth. In the paper, the authors note that overall poverty reduction may leave the poorest behind and thus it is a fair question to ask if the poverty reduction has taken place among the poorest of the poor.

A typical measurement approach is to set a more stringent poverty cutoff and assess the situation of those that are the poorest or destitute. In income poverty measurement, they are often referred as ultra poor. This paper instead pursues a multidimensional counting methodology, building on Alkire and Foster (2011) to understand the extent of destitution in 49 developing countries across the world using the same set of dimensions and indicators used for constructing the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) (Alkire and Santos 2010). Those who are poor according to these deeper deprivation cutoffs are classified as ‘destitute’.

The authors find surprisingly widespread destitution across these 49 countries housing 1.2 billion poor people – indeed around half of the MPI poor people are destitute by this measure. The paper also reports results sub-nationally for 41 countries, and illustrates how the overall change in poverty may be decomposed into changes affecting those that are destitute and those that are not.

You can read the paper here and you can find out more about the results of the Global MPI 2014 here.

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New Research in Progress paper analyses multidimensional poverty dynamics

OPHI has published a new Research in Progress paper 41a titled  ‘Multidimensional poverty dynamics: Methodology and results for 34 countries’ by Sabina Alkire, Jose Manuel Roche and Ana Vaz. The paper analyses changes in multidimensional poverty over time for over thirty countries and 338 sub-national regions, for which the authors have comparable data across at least two periods of time.

The paper first describes the absolute and relative changes in the multidimensional poverty index (MPI) and their significance, as well as changes in the composition of multidimensional poverty. Second, the paper examines changes in the MPI and its consistent partial indices over time across over 338 sub-national regions, plus a diversity of ethnic groups. In each case it identifies regions or ethnic groups where national poverty reduction is at risk of leaving the poorest subgroups behind. This extensive body of empirical evidence points to some fundamental research questions on the study of multidimensional poverty reduction.

You can read the paper here.

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New OPHI working paper investigates meaning of psychological agency

OPHI has published a new Working Paper 69 titled Psychological Agency: Evidence from the urban fringe of Bamako by Elise Klein. This paper contributes to the definition and examination of psychological elements of agency and empowerment in the development literature. Currently an examination of the psychological literature reveals a lack of empirical research related to non-Western contexts and development policy. Instead, empowerment is generally defined as a favourable opportunity structure, as choice, or as the distribution of power. Klein present the results of an empirical study using inductive mixed methods to examine the central factors contributing to initiatives people undertake to improve personal and collective well-being in Bamako, Mali. It finds that informants articulated that the psychological concepts of dusu (internal motivation) and ka da I yèrè la (self-efficacy) were most important to their purposeful agency.

You can read OPHI Working Paper 69 in full here.

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22 governments participate in high-level meeting of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) in Berlin

Ministers from over 20 countries belonging to the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) gathered in Berlin this week to endorse multidimensional poverty as an overall goal of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and endorse the establishment of a new MPI 2015+ measure of extreme poverty in the post-2015 development context. The network and its participants endorsed Multidimensional Poverty Indices (MPIs) as a powerful policy tool for enhanced poverty reduction at the regional, national and subnational level, with the ability to illuminate the state and progress of marginalised groups.

Keynote speeches were given by:

  • HE Dr Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia
  • HE Dr Margarita Cedeño de Fernández
  • Vice-President of the Dominican Republic
  • Juan Manuel Valle Pereña, Executive Director of the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation, Government of Mexico

The event, the first high-level meeting of the Network since its launch at the University of Oxford in June 2013, provided a forum for senior delegates to share conceptual, methodological and practical information on the implementation of multidimensional poverty measures in their respective countries.

Hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the meeting brought together Vice Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers from 25 governments, including Bhutan, Brazil, China, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Turkey, South Africa and Vietnam. Senior representatives from international institutions such as OECD, UNDP, Southern African Development Community (SADC), Organization of American States (OAS) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) were also present.

At the meeting the network launched the official Multidimensional Poverty Network website that gives information about the work of poverty being conducted by each participant country. Presentations given during the event are available to view on the website and the communiqué issued by the network can be read here.

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Government officials to gather in Berlin for high-level MPPN meeting next week

Between 7-8 July 2014, senior representatives from nearly 30 governments and international institutions will gather in Berlin, Germany for a high-level meeting of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network, of which Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative is the Secretariat.

The event, the first high-level meeting of the Network since its launch at the University of Oxford in June 2013, will provide a forum for senior delegates to share conceptual, methodological and practical information on the implementation of multidimensional poverty measures in their respective countries.

Hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the meeting brings together Vice Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers from 25 governments, including Bhutan, Brazil, China, Chile, Colombia, Mexico Mozambique, Nigeria, Turkey, South Africa and Vietnam. Senior representatives from international institutions such as OECD, UNDP, Southern African Development Community (SADC), Organization of American States (OAS) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will also be present. There will be over 20 presentations during the meeting, showcasing different experiences in addressing multidimensional poverty and/or designing national and subnational multidimensional measures.

You can follow different segments of the event live on Twitter through the hashtag #MPPN2014. Videos and powerpoint presentations from the meeting will also be available online after the event.

Highlights include
•    Presentations from over 18 governments on their steps toward developing multidimensional measures of poverty;
•    Keynote speeches from HE Dr Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, Vice-President of the Dominican Republic on the 7th of July; and Juan Manuel Valle Pereña, Executive Director of the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation, Government of Mexico, and HE Dr Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia on the 8th of July;
•    A roundtable discussions about multidimensional poverty in the post-2015 development agenda.

The high-level meeting furthers the network’s mission to provide international support to policymakers engaged in or exploring the construction of multidimensional poverty measures. It provides a forum for South-South exchanges on topics such as measurement design and the political processes and institutional arrangements that sustain new measures.

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New OPHI working paper proposes a regional multidimensional poverty index

OPHI has published a new Working Paper 66 titled Measuring Multidimensional Poverty in Latin America: Previous Experience and the Way Forward by Maria Emma Santos. This paper states the need to design a multidimensional poverty index for the Latin America region (LA-MPI) that can monitor poverty trends in a cross-country comparable way, yet is also relevant to the particular regional context. Santos reviews the region’s rich experience with multidimensional poverty measurement, as well as Europe’s experiences with multidimensional measurement.  Drawing from the review, she outlines an LA-MPI composed of five dimensions: basic consumptions, education, health, housing and basic services, and work. The paper then lists the indicators within those dimensions that are desirable, as well as what indicators are feasible given existing data constraints.

You can read OPHI Working Paper 66 in full here.

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