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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.