What does the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) do?
The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) is an economic research and policy centre within the Oxford Department of International Development at the University of Oxford. Established in 2007, the centre is led by Sabina Alkire.
OPHI aims to build and advance a more systematic methodological and economic framework for reducing multidimensional poverty, grounded in people’s experiences and values. OPHI works towards this by:
- Broadening poverty measurement. OPHI develops and implements multi-dimensional measures of poverty, wellbeing and inequality. These measures go beyond traditional one-dimensional approaches to incorporate dimensions such as health, education, living standards, quality of work and more innovative dimensions.
- Improving data on poverty. OPHI has developed tools to measure five missing dimensions of poverty data that poor people value but which have been largely overlooked in international studies of poverty to date: Quality of Work, Empowerment, Physical Safety, the ability to go about without Shame and Humiliation, Psychological Wellbeing and Social Isolation.
- Building capacity. OPHI runs academic courses and technical training programmes on multidimensional poverty and human development, and collaborates with universities, development agencies, governments and other research institutions and policy makers using our work.
- Impacting policy. OPHI’s methodologies have been adopted by policy makers, including national governments and the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report.
OPHI’s work is grounded in Amartya Sen’s capability approach. OPHI works to implement this approach by creating real tools that inform policies to reduce poverty.
OPHI’s team members are involved in a wide range of activities and collaborations around the world, including survey design and testing, quantitative and qualitative data collection, training and mentoring, and advising policy makers.
Where can you find out more about OPHI’s work?
- Research. Read more about OPHI’s research, which is categorised by two main themes: multidimensional measurement and the missing dimensions of poverty data.
- Publications. OPHI publishes a Working Paper series and an informal Research in Progress series, a OPHI Briefings series, technical MPI Methodological Notes series, national MPI reports, some special publications such as poverty reports co-authored by OPHI, a newsletter, and MPI questionnaires developed through OPHI research. OPHI’s academic publications include papers, book chapters and Special Issues in peer-reviewed journals and books.
- Courses and Events. OPHI teaches a regular Summer School and other short courses, as well as teaching modules within other institutions’ courses, develops specialised training and publishes e-learning materials from past OPHI short courses.
- Policy. OPHI’s methodologies have been adopted by national governments (see the Multidimensional Poverty Peer network website) and the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report. Read about how is the Alkire-Foster method used in policy.
As well as ongoing collaborations with universities, research networks, development agencies, governments and international organisations, OPHI also works with these organisations on specific projects around the world.
OPHI is advised by Professor Sudhir Anand, Professor Amartya Sen and Professor Frances Stewart. OPHI emerged from and is actively involved in the Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA).