A new Index
For many years one basis on which poverty is assessed has been people living on less than $1.25 or $2 per day. But this is a very ‘blunt’ way of measuring poverty as the value of $2 varies from one economy to another and also finance is not the only measure of real poverty.

Recently I joined a live-stream seminar organised by the Overseas Development Institute in the UK which launched a new Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI). This does not replace the economic one with which we are familiar but complements it. To me this made a lot of sense since it is far more indicative of the life issues that really define poverty. It has been developed in the Oxford Department of International Development, part of Oxford University.

They use three Dimensions of Poverty – Health, Education and Living Standard. Each of these is subdivided into a total of ten Indicators:

Health –

      Nutrition,
      Child Mortality

Education –

      Years of Schooling
      School Attendance

Living Standard –

      Cooking Fuel
      Improved Sanitation
      Safe Drinking Water
      Electricity
      Flooring
      Assets

Each of these Indicators is weighted to produce the MPI.

Tracking progress in Poverty Reduction
Since this is a far more sensitive indicator of poverty it is easier to track those nations which are making progress in poverty reduction. Very full charts and diagrams were shared to show how some of the 34 nations so far monitored are improving in their poverty reduction, whether in quantity of people affected or levels of poverty. Within these 34 nations they studied 338 sub-national regions which encompassed 2.5 billion people, about one third of the world population.

Many data were presented using the same ten indicators such as Urban v Rural Poverty, Destitution v $1.25/day poverty.

Because this is a more sensitive indicator than the traditional one it allows programmes to be focussed more easily on poverty reduction eg by focussing on some aspect of health or education. It then provides the ability to monitor progress.

It is clearly impossible to present all aspects of this new MPI in a short blog posting. For those involved in poverty reduction at the extremes of poverty I strongly recommend a deeper exploration of this valuable tool through the above links. It is well worth watching the seminar through the ODI link above or through the Oxford Department of International Development  website, which allows you to select the particular speakers making presentations on video. The ODID website


also has a very wide range of data that is available to interrogate and download about nations of your choosing.

 

Footnote:
Because we are entering the summer holiday period in UK this will be my last posting until September.

 

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