OPHI In Media
- The Huffington Post publishes article on MPI2015+ by Sabina Alkire
- Al-Jazeera publishes OPHI Researcher’s article on food security in India
- Vietnam Minister highlights need for multidimensional approach to poverty
- Gates Foundation publishes article on measuring women’s empowerment
- Alkire takes part in live Q&A for Guardian Global Development
- Alkire article on Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network featured in Outreach magazine
- Guardian covers calls for UN to adopt new poverty measure
- OPHI’s research featured in Economist article on approaches to eradicating poverty
- Peer Network member El Salvador pilots multidimensional poverty measure
- La Prensa publishes Alkire interview on the many faces of poverty
- Multidimensional poverty measures needed in Caribbean, says St Lucia’s Director of Statistics
- Alkire interview on data revolution for Canadian International Council (CIC)
- ‘This bill won’t eat your money’: Alkire comments on India’s National Food Security Bill
- OPHI Director contributes to SciDevNet feature on the role of LDCs post-2015
- OPHI takes part in human development seminar series at UCA in Nicaragua
- Vietnam joins Peer Network as it moves to adopt multidimensional poverty measure
- Launch of Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network makes the news
- OPHI Director Sabina Alkire appears on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme
- Alkire blog features in ODI’s Development In Progress newsletter
- OPHI researcher takes part in Voice of Russia discussion on poverty
- OPHI’s John Hammock appears on the front page of El País
- Colombia’s President announces fall in multidimensional poverty
- Global MPI 2013 attracts attention around the world
- Nepal’s reduction in MPI poverty makes the headlines
- Kristeligt Dagblad publishes Alkire interview
- Colombia using MPI to inform social policies, Zavaleta tells ‘Portfolio’
- World Bank should think carefully about how it defines and targets poverty, Alkire says
- OPHI researcher contributes to IRIN feature on urban poverty
- The Economy of Gross National Happiness ~ Sabina Alkire
- The advantages of MPI ~ Hindustan Times
- OPHI Director in Pakistan ~ Associated Press
- Middle-income countries leave their poorest behind ~ Reuters
- Gap between rich and poor is still growing, study finds ~ The Independent
- Igual de desiguales ~ or “Equally unequal”
- Why we need new measures of progress
- Two OPHI publications in top 10 reads for 2010
- Happiness is a key indicator, but it’s not the only one
- Good ideas for bad times
- The Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers
- Poverty is about more than a lack of money
- OPHI Director interviewed by The Economist
- Oxford economists draw up poverty meter
The Huffington Post publishes article on MPI2015+ by Sabina Alkire
The Huffington Post has published an article by OPHI Director Sabina Alkire titled ‘To end poverty we need to understand it better‘, in which she argues for a new measure post-2015 that accurately captures poor people’s experiences of poverty.
In the post, Alkire endorses a poverty measure – the MPI2015+ – proposed by the 25 plus countries in the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) at the UN General Assembly this year. Alkire writes, ‘By revealing which deprivations a poor person is experiencing simultaneously, an MPI2015+ helps break apart the silos of poverty reduction interventions and inform more cost-effective, joined-up and better targeted policies.’
You can read the post in full here.
The post was one of a series published by panellists taking part in Intelligence Squared’s ‘Can we really end poverty? A debate on the future of development’, held in London on Thursday 5 December.
Al-Jazeera publishes OPHI Researcher’s article on food security in India
Al- Jazeera (English) has published an article by OPHI Researcher Mihika Chatterjee on the recently approved Food Security Bill in India.
In the article, ‘Food security in India is not doomed after all’, Chatterjee explores the controversies surrounding the Public Distribution System (PDS), through which centrally-procured food commodities are distributed to households across India. Under the Bill (now known as the Right to Food Act), provision of subsidised foodgrains for 75 percent of the rural population and 50 percent of urban dwellers will occur through the PDS.
Critics of the Bill have focused on the ‘inefficiency’ of the PDS, but in the article Chatterjee highlights the fact that most recent research shows the PDS has improved significantly in the last decade. She notes that leakages have decreased, and that the PDS plays a fundamental role in the lives of people from districts in which starvation is known to be a problem, such as Koraput.
You can read the article in full here. An earlier article by OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire on India’s food security debate which was published by The Hindu newspaper in July is available to read here.
Vietnam Minister highlights need for multidimensional approach to poverty
Vietnam’s Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, has highlighted the need to move from a unidimensional to a multidimensional approach to poverty at a forum in Hanoi.
The forum, entitled “Poverty Reduction and Way Forward”, was organised by the Ministry and the United Nations, in collaboration with the Vietnam Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) and the Embassy of Ireland. The theme was ‘Working together towards a world without discrimination: Building on the experience and knowledge of people in extreme poverty’.
An article about the forum published by the online newspaper Talk Vietnam states that in the past two decades, Vietnam has reduced its poverty rate from 58.1 percent (in 1993) to less than 10 percent. However, the country is facing challenges in sustaining the achieved results, it says; the risk of falling back to poverty is high, and pockets of poverty and sub-national disparities still persist. Poverty, including extreme poverty, remains prevalent among ethnic minority groups and in ethnic minority-populated areas.
According to the article, the Minister said that in order to achieve sustainable poverty reduction goals from now to 2020, Vietnam should continue to give priority resources to the poorest areas, particularly in ethnic minority-populated areas. The construction and issue of new support policies are focused on sustainable poverty reduction, she added.
The Minister also highlighted the need to transfer from a unidimensional to a multidimensional approach to poverty. “Vietnam will be a pioneer of these recommendations. The Government of Vietnam has assigned the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to collaborate with relevant ministries and agencies to study the transfer plan and submit it to the Prime Minister for approval and application after 2015,” she said.
Earlier this year, Vietnam’s Vice-Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Nguyen Trong Dam, set out a timetable for establishing a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to be included in Vietnam’s 2015-2020 National Plan.
Vietnam is a member of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN), which connects policymakers in over 25 governments and insitutions who are exploring or implementing multidimensional poverty measures. In September, policymakers from Brazil and Mexico, who are also members of the MPPN, shared insights with their counterparts in Vietnam at a seminar in Hanoi.
Gates Foundation publishes article on measuring women’s empowerment
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s blog Impatient Optimists has published an article on the measurement of women’s empowerment, including using the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) developed by OPHI to analyse new data from India.
The Gates Foundation and the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Markets and Institutions is at present funding an ICRISAT Village Dynamics Studies in South Asia (VDSA) to collect new data in eight villages of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra in India. The data will help to examine change over time on key gender-related health, nutrition and institutional metrics. The aim of the study is to try to ultimately measure women’s empowerment.
In a meeting in October to discuss how the WEAI can be used to study the link between empowerment and nutrition in ICRISAT’s new data set, OPHI Director Sabina Alkire explained that ‘the index had specifically been developed for the context of agriculture and could easily be adapted to capture overall empowerment.’
The blog post also notes that Alkire felt a nutritional empowerment index could include questions focusing on women’s knowledge and practices in key areas such as breastfeeding, giving the antibody-rich first milk, colostrum, and weaning (giving sufficient soft food).
The WEAI was developed by OPHI with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It aims to indicate women’s control over critical parts of their lives in the household, community and economy. A woman is empowered if ‘adequacy’ is achieved in 80% or more of the indicators.
Alkire takes part in live Q&A for Guardian Global Development
OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire took part in a live Q&A titled ‘Can we trust the UN to end global poverty?’ on the Guardian Global Development website on 25 September.
Alkire joined a panel of experts to discuss the intricacies of the UN general assembly, the MDGs and the post-2015 process. Key messages to emerge were that the UN alone cannot eradicate poverty and more national responsibility was needed in meeting the MDG goals. The role of the UN in the discussion emerged as one to inspire key stakeholders from multiple sectors. Additionally panelists and questioners unanimously supported a rights-based approach towards development goals.
The panel also included Tony German, executive director of Development Initiatives, which recently carried out analysis on how much it will cost to eradicate poverty; Farah Mihlar, South Asia expert for Minority Rights Group, who recently interviewed minority and indigenous activists to get their perspectives on the post-2015 process; and Liz Ford, deputy editor of the Guardian’s Global Development site, who reported from the 68th UN General Assembly.
The questions and answers posted on the discussion webpage can be viewed in full here.
Alkire article on Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network featured in Outreach magazine
In the article, Alkire echoes the UN Secretary General’s call for ‘South-South cooperation’, highlighting the work of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network; ‘a growing body of developing-country governments who have joined together to share their experiences of adopting multidimensional poverty measures at the national or regional level.’
The Network organised a side-event at the 68th UN General Assembly on 24 September to urge post-2015 actors to include a multidimensional poverty index (MPI) alongside the $1.25/day income measure, to track progress towards non-monetary goals. The proposed MPI2015+ would build on an existing global multidimensional poverty index published in UNDP’s Human Development Reports since 2010. Countries from the Network, such as Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Morocco, Nigeria, Philippines and El Salvador have started work towards the construction of such a poverty measure.
The Stakeholder Forum will publish five editions of Outreach to coincide with key events relating to the post-2015 development agenda during the 68th session of the UN General Assembly (20 – 27 September 2013). The content of the daily editions is based on the themes of each event.
You can read Alkire’s article in full here.
Guardian covers calls for UN to adopt new poverty measure
The event included speakers from the governments of Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Philippines and Nigeria, the World Bank, UNDP, OECD and OPHI, who all called on the UN to adopt a new multidimensional poverty measure to help track progress toward the global goals identified for the post-2015 agenda.
‘The international community needs to move away from using economic benchmarks to measure development progress if it is serious about ending extreme poverty, a meeting at the UN has been told,’ the Guardian reported.
‘….Representatives…argued that adopting a multidimensional poverty index (MPI) alongside economic measures would allow countries to get a more nuanced picture of poverty and whether progress towards addressing it was being made,’ it said.
Participants recommended that the UN adopt a new multidimensional poverty measure to complement the current $1.25 a day income standard. The assembled Southern governments also shared concrete ways their national multidimensional approaches to measuring poverty are being used for policy coordination, targeting, and monitoring, and are making visible progress that income poverty measures overlook.
OPHI’s research featured in Economist article on approaches to eradicating poverty
The article, titled ‘Growth or safety net?’, looks at the relationship between boosting incomes and reducing poverty, and cites OPHI’s finding that Nepal had reduced multidimensional poverty fastest of 22 countries having data on multidimensional poverty over time, despite being the poorest country in South Asia. ‘…As Nepal shows, cutting poverty is not just about boosting incomes,’ the author writes.
Deprivation, the article explains, takes many forms, including the lack of schools, clean water, medicines and family planning. ‘Using her MPI measure, (OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire) finds that about one-sixth of Vietnam’s population is poor by income, and one-sixth is “multidimensionally poor”. But they are not the same people: only about a third of the groups overlap,’ it says.
The article goes on to describe how charities and others are urging the governments meeting in New York this week for the 68th session of the UN General Assembly to adopt exacting targets for non-income measures of deprivation.
OPHI, together with the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, CONEVAL of Mexico, the Department for Social Prosperity of Colombia, and the new Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network, will hold an event at the UN to call for a new multidimensional poverty index (MPI) 2015+ to support the post-2015 development goals. You can watch a live webcast of the event on Tuesday 24 September at 1.15-2.30 pm (EST) at http://webtv.un.org.
Peer Network member El Salvador pilots multidimensional poverty measure
El Salvadoran newspaper La Prensa has published an article on a new poverty measure being developed in the country. The article, in Spanish, cites the Technical Secretariat of the Presidency of El Salvador (STP) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the country as the main developers of a multidimensional methodology for poverty measurement in the country.
The Government of El Salvador in collaboration with the UNDP had considered various measures before piloting a multidimensional poverty measure that has been used to generate new data. The process has been carried out over two years and it is expected that the measure will be launched in 2014, according to William Pleitez, the Chief Economist at UNDP, El Salvador. The country is a member of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network launched in Oxford, in June 2013.
OPHI Director Sabina Alkire was interviewed by La Prensa in her role as adviser to the government of El Salvador on multidimensional poverty. Alkire explained the importance of adding poverty measures that go beyond income in capturing the full experience of poverty, and lauded the government’s two-year effort to collate information from poor people on the dimensions of poverty relevant to their lives.
You can read the full article in La Prensa, in Spanish, here, while the interview with Alkire is available to read here. Find out more about the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network and its members here.
La Prensa publishes Alkire interview on the many faces of poverty
Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa has published an interview with OPHI Director Sabina Alkire on the topic of unidimensional and multidimensional poverty in Latin America.
The article, in Spanish, discusses different understandings of poverty around the world; the prospects for decreasing poverty in Nicaragua; and the World Bank’s goal to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.
In the interview, Alkire stresses the importance of listening to poor people’s views about the dimensions that constitute their experience of poverty. She also talks about how multidimensional poverty measures provide policymakers with a way to reflect the multiple concerns of poor people in anti-poverty programmes.
Multidimensional poverty measures needed in Caribbean, says St Lucia’s Director of Statistics
A speech by Edwin St. Catherine, Director of Statistics at St Lucia’s Central Statistical Office, on the topic ‘Measuring Multidimensional Poverty in Barbados and the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States)’, has been covered by Grenadian newspaper the Barnacle.
In the speech, given at an event hosted by UNDP in Bridgetown, St. Catherine noted that current poverty measures in the region did not adequately reflect the full experience of poverty, because monetary poverty did not always overlap with multidimensional poverty. He cited nutrition as an example and remarked that ‘You see as much as 53 per cent of children that are multidimensionally poor [in nutrition] are not poor in monetary terms.’
St. Catherine emphasised the need for a multidimensional measure that captured the impact of policies and showed policymakers the way forward for specific interventions in poverty alleviation. The Director is a graduate of OPHI’s 2013 Summer School in Multidimensional Poverty Analysis.
Alkire interview on data revolution for Canadian International Council (CIC)
The Canadian International Council’s (CIC) digital media platform, OpenCanada.org has published an interview with OPHI Director, Sabina Alkire on the new Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) and the MPI 2.0 (now known as the MPI 2015+).
The article describes what multidimensional measures reflect in countries such as Ethiopia and Nepal and how such measures are key to moving forward the Millennium Development Goals after 2015. Together with the governments of Germany, Colombia and Mexico and Ministers from 20 countries, the MPPN has decided to advocate for a multidimensional poverty index (MPI 2015+ ) in a post-2015 context.
“They felt that a global and internationally comparable headline of multidimensional poverty would really add value to a list of individual indicators. One of the things OPHI is working on is a proposal for there to be an indicator – complementing the $1.25-a-day indicator – of multidimensional poverty that gives an at-a-glance figure of how people’s lives are going in other dimensions,” Alkire said in the interview.
Read the full article here.
‘This bill won’t eat your money’: Alkire comments on India’s National Food Security Bill
OPHI Director Sabina Alkire has described the charge of many critics that India’s National Food Security Bill (NFSB) is excessive as ‘exceedingly strange’ in an opinion piece published by The Hindu.
Alkire argues that expenditure on providing food security will add minimally to public spending, and compares India’s fiscal priorities with those of other countries in Asia, where, she says, governments across the political spectrum invest more in social protection.
She concludes: ‘India has a higher proportion of stunted children than nearly any other country on earth, yet spends half the proportion of GDP that lower middle income Asian countries spend on social protection and less than one-fifth of what high income countries in Asia spend.’
The Hindu is an English-language Indian daily newspaper. You can read Alkire’s article, titled ‘This bill won’t eat your money’, in full here.
OPHI Director contributes to SciDevNet feature on the role of LDCs post-2015
OPHI Director Sabina Alkire has contributed to a feature published by SciDevNet discussing the future role of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the post-2015 context following the release of a briefing paper by the LDC Independent Expert Group.
The paper, ‘Taking a lead on the post-2015 agenda: priorities for least developed countries’, highlights the need for two-way cooperation between high and low income countries in the pursuit of development goals, and calls for the recognition of the expertise of LDCs, especially with regard to sustainable development.
Alkire welcomed the findings of the report, noting that many of the poorest countries have achieved more in terms of reducing non-income poverty than their wealthier counterparts. However, she would have liked the report to go further and recognise LDC expertise on the issue of women’s empowerment and their leadership.
Read the SciDevNet feature in full here.
OPHI takes part in human development seminar series at UCA in Nicaragua
OPHI Director Sabina Alkire has given a presentation via Skype to the University of Central America (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua, on multidimensional aspects of poverty, arguing for a movement beyond measuring poverty using Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and consumption alone. Her talk was covered by the Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa.
Alkire’s speech was given at the invitation of the University of Central America (UCA) as part of its Human Development Series of seminars. This series consists of four lectures in total, given to a wide-ranging audience of students, professors and guests in Managua, on topics related to human development. The lectures are being given in the run-up to the OPHI-HDCA Intensive Spanish-language Training Course 2013 on Multidimensional Poverty Analysis, which will be held in Managua in September.
Vietnam joins Peer Network as it moves to adopt multidimensional poverty measure
Vietnam’s Vice-Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Nguyen Trong Dam, has announced that he will join the global Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network that was formally launched on 6-7 June, as Vietnam moves to adopt a multidimensional framework for measuring poverty.
Vice-Minister Dam’s announcement came at the end of a workshop on multidimensional poverty in Nha Trang, at which OPHI Research Associate John Hammock presented the Alkire Foster method of multidimensional measurement, and described how it is being applied in Mexico, Colombia, Bhutan and other countries.
The workshop brought together close to 100 participants from the national government, academia and think tanks, as well as representatives of ethnic minorities and local communities. At the end of the workshop, Vice-Minister Dam set out a timetable for establishing a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to be included in Vietnam’s 2015-2020 National Plan.
The Vice-Minister expressed his intention to visit other members of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network who are implementing national measures, in order to learn from their experiences. The network was formally launched in Oxford by President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and high-level representatives of Mexico and around 20 other governments.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs’ decision to move to a multidimensional approach to poverty measurement was covered by the Vietnamese media, including Việt Nam News, the national English-language daily. You can read the article in full here.
Launch of Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network makes the news
The launch of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network by President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and high-level representatives from Mexico and around 20 other governments in Oxford on 6 June has made the news in Spanish-language media around the world.
In Colombia, the event was covered by El Colombiano, El Espectador, El Heraldo, El Nuevo Herald, El País, El Tiempo, Colombia Reports and Colombia Politics. It was covered live by W Radio Colombia, and also featured on Radio Nacional de Colombia, Caracol Radio and Radio Santa Fe.
You can listen to an interview conducted by W Radio Colombia with Sabina Alkire on 5 June here. You can also hear interviews the radio station conducted at the Policy Symposium in Magdalen College on 6 June; listen to Dr Paulo de Martino Januzzi, Brazil’s National Secretary of Evaluation and Information Management, here, and Dr Gonzalo Hernández Licona, Executive Secretary of Mexico’s National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL), here.
The method provides policymakers with an intuitive yet detailed picture of poverty that shows the number of poor people and the overlapping ways in which they are deprived.
OPHI Director Sabina Alkire appears on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme
OPHI Director Sabina Alkire took part in a discussion on global poverty on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on 1 June, arguing that over the next generation there is a possibility to lift the whole of humanity out of extreme income and multidimensional poverty.
Alkire and Jeremy Lefroy, Conservative MP and member of Trade Out of Poverty, discussed whether capitalism and free markets, rather than good governance and social programmes, were the answer to ending poverty. Lefroy emphasized the utility of trade in creating new jobs, which are necessary for economic growth and to raise the taxes needed to provide finances for development goals.
Alkire noted that research has shown that economic growth may have little or no correlation with non-income development goals on issues such as child mortality or the number of children out of school. ‘That’s a shocking finding, because we would assume them to walk in lockstep and they don’t,’ she said.
You can listen to the discussion on the Today programme here.
Alkire blog features in ODI’s Development In Progress newsletter
ODI’s Development Progress launched a debate in May about how poverty should be measured in a post-2015 framework. Alongside Alkire’s blog, the May newsletter features posts by Martin Ravallion, the Edmond D. Villani Professor of Economics at Georgetown University, Washington DC; Lant Pritchett, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development and Professor of the Practice of International Development (on leave) at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government; and Stephan Klasen, Professor of Development Economics and Empirical Economic Research at the University of Göttingen.
Ravallion’s blog argues that a new poverty target should continue to be based on a $1.25/day poverty line alongside a ‘weakly relative’ poverty line, so that absolute poverty is given primacy but relative poverty is also taken into account. Pritchett’s post makes the case for higher international poverty lines, while Klasen’s blog focuses on internationally coordinated national poverty lines, based on consistent measurement of poverty at the national level.
Alkire’s blog drew attention to the mismatch between income poverty and other dimensions of poverty, noting that research shows that trends in $1.25/day income poverty and multidimensional poverty do not move in lockstep (see Alkire and Roche, 2013).
Alkire makes the case for a measure based on the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which would complement an income poverty measure by revealing the simultaneous disadvantages in health, education and living standards a person is experiencing. Alkire recently co-authored a briefing on ‘Multidimensional Poverty and the Post-2015 MDGs’ with OPHI Research Associate Andy Sumner, Co-Director of the King’s International Development Institute at King’s College London.
OPHI researcher takes part in Voice of Russia discussion on poverty
OPHI Research Officer José Manuel Roche was one of the guests on a Voice of Russia panel discussion on ‘Poverty: living below the line’ on 8 May.
With thousands of people across the UK taking part in the ‘Live Below the Line’ challenge, to eat for a week on just five pounds (US$7.74), the radio programme looked at how poverty is defined around the world and the difficulties involved in measuring it.
Alongside Roche on the panel were Elisha London, UK Country Director for the Global Poverty Project, which launched the ‘Live Below the Line’ initiative, and Syed Rahman Raju, an academic at Dhaka’s Daffodil University who has written extensively on food security in Bangladesh.
Roche drew attention to the difficulties of measuring poverty according to income alone, from the disparities in prices between countries, regions, and urban and rural contexts, to the need to take into account the effect of a consumer’s knowledge and education on their buying decisions, and the lack of goods to buy in areas affected by natural disasters such as drought.
Voice of Russia is the Russian government’s international radio broadcasting service, and broadcasts globally to an audience of around 109 million. You can listen to a recording of the full half-hour discussion here.
OPHI’s John Hammock appears on the front page of El País
OPHI Co-Founder and Research Associate John Hammock has appeared in the Spanish newspaper El País as part of a front-page interview with the President of Colombia, written by the Editor-in-Chief, Javier Moreno.
Hammock was present at an event at which President Juan Manuel Santos announced a reduction in multidimensional poverty, two years after his government implemented a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (the MPI-Colombia) that uses the Alkire Foster method (see ‘Colombia’s President announces fall in multidimensional poverty’).
Hammock explained to the press and many senior government officials at the event how OPHI had worked with the Colombian government to develop the index, which has dimensions and indicators devised by the government to meet its specific needs and public policy priorities in order to inform poverty reduction strategies.
You can read the full article in Spanish here.
Colombia’s President announces fall in multidimensional poverty
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has announced a fall in multidimensional poverty, two years after his government implemented a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (the MPI-Colombia) that uses the Alkire Foster method.
OPHI began working with the Colombian government’s Ministry of Planning in 2010 to construct the new measure, which underlies firm and binding targets to close the country’s multidimensional poverty gaps. The dimensions and indicators were devised by Colombia to meet its specific needs and public policy priorities in order to inform poverty reduction strategies.
Based on national statistics, the MPI-Colombia showed a drop in multidimensional poverty, from 29.4% in 2011 to 27% in 2012. President Santos said his government had also reduced the income poverty rate from 34.1% to 32.7% in two years, lifting some 1.7 million people out of poverty.
OPHI Co-Founder and Research Associate John Hammock took part in the meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Poverty Coordinating Committee where the results were announced. The news was widely covered in the media, both in Colombia (see El Tiempo, El Espectador, La República, Portafolio, El Universal, Semana) and further afield; for example in China (see Xinhua and China Daily).
Hammock earlier gave a presentation on multidimensional poverty measures at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua, which will host a Spanish-language intensive training course to be run by OPHI from 30 August – 7 September 2013.
Colombia is one of a number of countries to have implemented a multidimensional measure that builds on OPHI’s research (for others see here). Building on the flexibility inherent in the AF method, the MPI-Colombia assesses the broader social and health-related aspects of poverty in five dimensions:
- Household education conditions;
- Childhood and youth conditions;
- Access to household utilities and living conditions.
The five dimensions are equally weighted and use 15 indicators. Find out more.
Global MPI 2013 attracts attention around the world
OPHI’s analyses of the global MPI figures published in UNDP’s Human Development Report 2013 have been attracting attention around the world. See below for selected coverage.
Argentina – La Nacion
Brazil – Terra.com
Georgia – The Messenger
New Zealand – NZweek
Nigeria – ConnectNigeria.com
Rwanda – News of Rwanda
Singapore – Economy Watch
Sweden – Dagen
Thailand – Financial Express
Nepal’s reduction in MPI poverty makes the headlines
Nepal’s eye-catching reduction in multidimensional poverty, as measured by the global MPI and announced in Kathmandu by OPHI Director Sabina Alkire, has been reported by media including the Himalayan Times and the Kathmandu Post.
Alkire presented the concept and methodology of the MPI at an event organised by the UN Development Programme following the launch of UNDP’s flagship Human Development Report 2013. The MPI was developed by OPHI with UNDP for publication in the HDR, and has featured in the report since 2010.
‘Experts today hailed the encouraging trend of poverty reduction in the country,’ said the article in Nepal’s Himalayan Times, while the Kathmandu Post picked up on regional disparities, reporting that ‘The proportion of population living under extreme poverty is the highest — 29.2 percent — in the Mid-Western Development Region.’
For more information on Nepal’s dramatic reduction in multidimensional poverty, see the OPHI briefing ‘How Multidimensional Poverty went down: Dynamics and Comparisons’.
Kristeligt Dagblad publishes Alkire interview
Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad has published an interview with OPHI Director Sabina Alkire on multidimensional poverty measurement.
The article describes how the Alkire Foster method can be used to capture different dimensions of poverty, and makes it possible to identify poor people living in middle-income countries.
“Our method demonstrates that there is no automatic link between economic growth and poverty eradication. India, for example, had a much higher economic growth than Bangladesh, but in terms of social indicators, Bangladesh has been more effective in reducing poverty, ” Alkire told the newspaper.
You can read the article in Danish here.
Colombia using MPI to inform social policies, Zavaleta tells ‘Portfolio’
Colombia has shown a strong commitment to using the results of a multidimensional poverty measure to set goals for social policies, OPHI Research Officer Diego Zavaleta has told the economic newspaper ‘Portfolio’ in an interview.
Government ministries have used the data generated by Colombia’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to inform public policies and programmes such as ‘Más Familias en Acción’ (‘More Families in Action’) and ‘Red Unidos’ (‘Red States’), because it gives a more complete picture of who is poor and how they are deprived, Zavaleta said.
In 2011, the Government of Colombia adopted a national MPI which assesses social and health-related aspects of poverty in five dimensions. Each of the indicators in the national MPI reflects the goals and targets of Colombia’s pioneering poverty-reduction strategy.
It is a powerful example of how the Alkire Foster method of multidimensional measurement can inform such strategies and help to create a clear system of accountabiliy.
“The methodology is adjustable, so you can change the variables and relevant topics of analysis, depending on the interests of each nation,” Zavaleta told ‘Portfolio’.
You can read the full interview, in Spanish, here.
World Bank should think carefully about how it defines and targets poverty, Alkire says
OPHI Director Sabina Alkire has called for the World Bank to think carefully about how it defines and targets poverty, in an article on the strategy set out by the bank’s new president, Jim Yong Kim.
Kim has voiced his desire to end poverty and build a ‘solutions bank’, but has not yet set targets or given details on how the bank will go about this. In an article by the Bretton Woods Project, a watchdog which scrutinises the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Alkire welcomed Kim’s determination to end absolute poverty, but expressed her concern about other aspects of poverty that are missed by a focus on income.
“I’m hoping that the World Bank will think carefully about how it defines and targets poverty, so that its measures support seamless work towards eradicating deprivations in education, health, nutrition, assets, services and livelihoods, as well as in income,” she said.
The article, ‘Kim’s World Bank strategy: real change or “PR exercise”?’, refers to the emerging data from countries around the world which were the focus of the workshop held last month by OPHI and the University of Göttingen, entitled ‘Dynamic Comparison between Multidimensional Poverty and Monetary Poverty’.
“For each country, we compared multidimensional poverty with monetary poverty using the same dataset,” Alkire explained.
“When the multidimensional measure did not include income as an indicator, 40 per cent to 80 per cent of multidimensionally poor people were not identified as income poor (the headcounts of poor persons matched for both income and multidimensional poverty). When each measure focused on the poorest of the poor, the mismatch between definitions of poverty was higher.
“This mismatch needs to be explored as the World Bank considers what targets to set itself to best achieve its goal of ending poverty.” Read more.
OPHI researcher contributes to IRIN feature on urban poverty
OPHI Research Officer José Manuel Roche has contributed to a feature on urban poverty published by IRIN, the UN’s humanitarian news and analysis service.
The feature, ‘How to Measure Urban Poverty’, looks at the fact that poverty is increasingly an urban phenomenon, and at the difficulties involved in defining poverty in an urban context. It examines different methods of measuring urban poverty, including income measures such as the international poverty standard, and multdimensional measures such as the MPI.
“It is difficult to compare urban and rural poverty with income measures,” said Roche. “With income measurements, rural poverty would appear too high compared to urban poverty… There are aspects of well-being, such as employment or violence, that are not captured and not included in the household surveys.”
The Economy of Gross National Happiness ~ Sabina Alkire
3 April 2012 by Sabina Alkire, Project Syndicate
Following the UN Meeting on Happiness and Wellbeing on 2 April, Sabina Alkire, OPHI’s Director writes that “Bhutan’s example gives the international community a unique opportunity to reconsider the path of economics in order to facilitate human flourishing on a shared planet.”
“Economics is poised to change, but how is not yet clear,” she writes in an op-ed following the energetic discussions on how to develop a new economic paradigm. “What is clear is that moral and intellectual leadership is essential. Bhutan’s new commission provides an invaluable opportunity to begin constructing a roadmap for a new multidimensional model of sustainable welfare economics, founded in human well-being.” Read the article.
The advantages of MPI ~ Hindustan Times
1 April 2012, by Prahlad Shekhawat, Hindustan Times
“The multidimensional poverty indicators developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and accepted by the Human Development Report, 2011, are perhaps the most reliable measures developed so far,” says Prahlad Shekhawat in his op-ed for the Indian newspaper. “They include: years of schooling, child enrolment, mortality (any age), nutrition, electricity, sanitation, drinking water, flooring, cooking fuel and asset ownership.”
“These indicators are desirable, having been applied by an independent international agency, and being comprehensive measures that can either form a single index or can be disaggregated into separate dimensions. Policy makers can thus figure which dimension or dimensions is/are most responsible for poverty and deserve special attention” he adds. Read article.
OPHI Director in Pakistan ~ Associated Press
14th Dec 2011, Associated Press Pakistan
Keynote Speaker, Dr Sabina Alkire of the Oxford University’s Poverty and Human Development Initiative said the measurement of poverty needs to take into account multi-faceted nature of deprivations faced by the poor.
She shared the salient findings of the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2011 with particular reference to South Asia, which was earlier launched by the UNDP Human Development Report Office. Read more
Middle-income countries leave their poorest behind ~ Reuters
7th Dec 2011, by Alex Whiting, Reuters Alert Net
The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is the first international measure to look at the intensity of poverty – the number of deprivations that each person faces at the same time. “The MPI reveals some dramatic disparities in the rates and intensity of poverty within countries, usually hidden by national averages. Hopefully, these findings will help policymakers to focus on delivering some benefits of growth to the poorest.” Jose Manuel Roche, research officer at OPHI, said. Read more
Gap between rich and poor is still growing, study finds ~ The Independent
7th Dec 2011, by Nina Lakhani, The Independent
The Oxford University study, analysed data from 109 countries with a combined population of 5.3 billion – 72 per cent of the planet’s total and found “startlingly wide” disparities within some nations. Read more
Igual de desiguales ~ or “Equally unequal”
10th September 2011, Igual de desiguales (“Equally unequal”)
Colombia’s influential magazine Semana has written on the new Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI-Colombia), launched by the country’s President, Juan Manuel Santos, in August 2011. Developed using an innovative adaptation of a technique for measuring poverty and wellbeing created by OPHI, the MPI-Colombia is tied to firm targets to close the country’s poverty gaps. Read more.
The groundbreaking new measure was also covered by Reuters (AlertNet) “Colombia adopts new poverty index measure” and by Jonathan Glennie in the UK’s Guardian newspaper “Colombia’s new index to measure poverty merits a cautious welcome“. Corrections to some factual errors in the piece appear below in the comments section.
Why we need new measures of progress
19th May 2011, by Sabina Alkire, OPHI Director in The Economist
Sabina Alkire, OPHI’s Director, has contributed to an Economist online debate on the need for new measures of economic and social progress. Joining the discussion begun by Richard Layard and Paul Ormerod, her post puts forward OPHI’s view of why new – multidimensional – measures of wellbeing are not only necessary, but also long overdue. The comment is on the right-hand side of the page – just scroll down a little to see it: Economist Happiness debate.
Two OPHI publications in top 10 reads for 2010
22nd December, by Institute of Development Studies (IDS) Staff, Development Horizons by Lawrence Haddad
Sabina Alkire and Emma Maria Santos “Acute Multidimensional Poverty: A New Index for Developing Countries,” OPHI Working Paper 38, is described by Keetie Roelen as ‘mindboggling’. Martin Greeley in turn lists Sabina Alkire’s OPHI Working Paper 36 “Human Development: Definitions, Critiques, and Related Concepts” (Development Research Paper 2010/01) as one of the top reads for the year. Read more
Happiness is a key indicator, but it’s not the only one
7th December 2010, by Sabina Alkire, The Guardian
Sabina Alkire’s article engages on the current debate on the formulation of a UK Happiness Index. Happiness, she says, is a key indicator but it’s not the only one. A serious measure of well-being would also need to include health, education and other factors. Read more
Good ideas for bad times
1st December 2010, by Charles Kenny, New America Foundation
In what sometimes looked like the worst of times, it was actually the best of times for ideas — and these ideas will shape how the world recovers in the years to come. This year produced a serious contender, the Multidimensional Poverty Index developed by Sabina Alkire, Maria Emma Santos, and James Foster for the UNDP. Read more
The Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers
29th November 2010, Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy presents a unique portrait of 2010′s global marketplace of ideas and the thinkers who make them. OPHI Director Sabina Alkire has been listed as one of the top 100 thinkers for her work on multidimensional poverty. Read more
Poverty is about more than a lack of money
5 November 2010, The Globe and Mail, by Rohinton Medhora
When is the person with more money poorer than the person with less money? This isn’t an ancient Greek riddle or the beginning of an African folk tale. It’s a question the United Nations Development Program has tried to answer in this year’s Human Development Report, released Thursday. In trying to understand what being poor really means, the report uses a new index that Canada helped create – the Multidimensional Poverty Index – to gather data on 10 indicators, ranging from child mortality and nutrition levels to years of schooling and access to electricity, clean water and proper flooring. Read more
OPHI Director interviewed by The Economist
30 July 2010, The Economist
Sabina Alkire on poverty indexes. The director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative discusses a new tool to measure poverty. Listen to audio interview with Sabina Alkire. See also Economist article ‘Many headed beast.’
Oxford economists draw up poverty meter
2 July 2010, Financial Times, by Jude Webber
Economists have quarrelled for centuries about the true definition of wealth. Perhaps a more pertinent question, in these globally troubled times as more people risk sliding into poverty, is the one they are asking now: what is the best measure of poverty? Read more