OPHI in Media Archive

Viet Nam News, ‘ Much to Do in War on Poverty’: an article about multidimensional poverty in Viet Nam

Multidimensional poverty (MDP) in Việt Nam witnessed a significant drop from 15.9 per cent in 2012 to 9.1 per cent in 2016 with some six million people escaping from poverty.

Read the full article here.

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Statement to the First Regular Session of the UNDP Executive Board, by UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner: “… in collaboration with Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, we have advanced our work on the Multidimensional Poverty Index to identify those population groups facing severe and intersecting deprivations. Beyond being an official poverty statistic and improving our understanding of poverty, the Multidimensional Poverty Index is an instrument for enhancing governance, by acting as a policy coordination tool, helping to improve national information systems, and fostering accountability of governments.”

Read the full Statement here.

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The Bhutanese: “Ex-PM’s Key-Note Address at Oxford Focuses on Monarchy, Sovereignty, Culture, Democracy, Environment, GNH and Welfare”

The Former Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay delivered the main key note address at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford University on 9th January as the main event of the three-day International Society of Bhutan Studies (ISBS) conference.

Read the full article here.

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The Bhutanese: ” A Deep Dive into Bhutan”

The International Society for Bhutan Studies (ISBS) inaugural conference in Magdalen College, Oxford University made the important first step of discussing and studying the diverse and less discussed aspects of Bhutan in a large international academic setting. More importantly, it set up and gave shape to an independent international ‘Bhutan studies’ group in its own right.

Read the full article here.

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Daily O: “Good News: Poverty Rate in India Has Halved Over Ten Years’

As the rupee continues to weaken and fuel prices continue to inflate, things look bleak for India on economic terms. But there is some good news, and one that is definitely worth celebrating. According to the 2018 global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), almost 271 million people in India have moved out of poverty in the decade since 2005-06.

Read the full article here.

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El Pais, Spain ‘La ONU Presenta un Nuevo Mapa dela Pobreza Global Mas Alla del Dinero’

1.300 millones de personas son pobres en todos los sentidos de la palabra, porque no tienen apenas ingresos o carecen de acceso a agua potable, alimentos suficientes o electricidad


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New York Times ‘Survey of 104 Countries Says 1.3 Billion Live In Poverty’

A survey of 104 countries comprising 5.5 billion people that looked at health, education and living standards has found that some 1.3 billion people are living in poverty — including 662 million children.

The Multidimensional Poverty Index released Thursday by the U.N. Development Program and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative says 46 percent of the 1.3 billion are considered to be severely impoverished.

Read the full article here.


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AP News ‘Survey of 104 Countries Says 1.3 Billion Live In Poverty’

A survey of 104 countries comprising 5.5 billion people that looked at health, education and living standards has found that some 1.3 billion people are living in poverty — including 662 million children.

The Multidimensional Poverty Index released Thursday by the U.N. Development Program and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative says 46 percent of the 1.3 billion are considered to be severely impoverished.

Read the full article here.

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Deutsche Welle: ‘Multidimensional Poverty Index: India Halves Poverty in Ten Years’

A new report shows the percentage of Indians living in poverty is half what it was a decade ago. But child poverty around the world is still rife, affecting nearly two-thirds of those under 18 in sub-Saharan Africa.

Read the full article here.

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My Republica: 28.5 % population poor in view of MPI

The report shows that the MPI rate is higher in the Province 6 and Province 2 where 50 percent people are living in poverty. They have no access to basic facilities like cooking fuel, sanitation, electricity, education and health. This figure is 30 percent in the Province 5 and 15 percent in the Province 3, 1 and 4.

Read the full article here.

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The Rising Nepal: 29% Nepalis living in multi-dimensional poverty: Report

The Rising Nepal: A report of Nepal Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) has shown that about 28.6 per cent of Nepal’s population is multi-dimensionally poor.  The Nepal MPI survey, the first of its kind conducted in Nepal to calculate the level of poverty dimensions, was unveiled by the National Planning Commission on Wednesday.

This report was prepared by the NPC in cooperation with the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at the University of Oxford.

Read the full article here.

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Corporate Nepal: 28.6 per cent of Nepal’s population is multi-dimensionally poor – MPI report

The Nepal Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report showed that about 28.6 per cent of Nepal’s population is multi-dimensionally poor. The MPI was, first of its kind, survey conducted in Nepal to calculate the level of poverty dimensions. The indicators that contribute most to multidimensional poverty in Nepal are under-nutrition and households that lack any members who has completed five years of schooling.

Read full article here.

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The Kathmandu Post: 29 out of 100 people poor

This is the first time Nepal had used MPI as an official tool to measure national poverty. Until now, Nepal was using income threshold of Rs19,262 per person per year to gauge poverty. This method assumes that a person who is able to earn at least Rs19,262 per year is non-poor, because  the amount is considered adequate to meet basic caloric needs and purchase essential non-food items.

Read the full article here.

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America Economía Publishes Article by OPHI Co-Founder John Hammock about UNGA Side Event

America Economía, a magazine on economics in Latin America, has published an article by OPHI Co-Founder John Hammock about the 22 September UNGA Side Event. The op-ed discusses outcomes of the meeting, in particular the agreement on the important role that multidimensional poverty indices (MPIs) must play in addressing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Latin American countries have had a leadership role in developing and promoting the use of MPIs, and several of them were represented at the meeting, which included statements from President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras, President Luis Guillermo Solís of Costa Rica, and Minister Gabriela Rosero of Ecuador.

Read the full article (in Spanish) here.

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Cuban Newspaper Granma Publishes Article on MPI Workshop

The Cuban newspaper Granma has published an article on the Multidimensional Poverty Index Workshop carried out in Havana, Cuba, on September 29 and 30. Sabina Alkire and John Hammock, from OPHI, participated in the workshop.

Read the full artice (In Spanish)

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Foster interviewed by Chilean newspaper Pulso on poverty measurement

OPHI Research Associate James Foster has been interviewed by Chilean newspaper Pulso following his attendance at a seminar on ‘Multidimensional Poverty: Incorporating Environments and Networks’ hosted by the Ministry of Social Development.

In the article Foster talks about the benefits of developing regional and country specific MPIs, which can be tailored to fit differing contexts and priorities. In the case of Chile, he discusses how the inclusion of a new dimension, environment and network, adds an interesting and important aspect to the measurement. Data obtained through questions in the National Socioeconomic Characterisation Survey (CASEN) will be used by the Ministry to inform policy which can help to tackle poverty in the country.

He also highlights how the MPI and income poverty measures work complementarily to form a detailed picture of poverty, commenting that this approach can ‘analyse what is really going on to people in their lives’ allowing governments to ‘do something about it’.

You can read the full article in Spanish here.


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Pakistan’s The Daily Times reports on role of the MPI in government’s ‘Vision 2025’ strategy

Pakistani newspaper The Daily Times has reported on a speech given by the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal, on the government’s inclusive growth strategy ‘Vision 2025’, which seeks to see Pakistan emerge as one of the top 25 world economies by 2025.

In the speech Prof. Iqbal highlighted the role of Pakistan’s recently launched Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) in helping to reduce inequalities. In recognition that income inequality is only one aspect of inequality in Pakistan, he said the MPI will help the government to grasp the challenges faced in other areas such as gender, region and digital divides.

You can read the full article here.

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Allafrica: Africa: Thirty African Nations Cut ‘Multidimensional’ Poverty in ‘Runaway Success’

According to a new analysis from the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative at the University of Oxford, 30 of 35 sub-Saharan African countries analysed for changes to poverty levels over time reduced multidimensional poverty significantly read more

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The 2016 Global MPI was launched yesterday. What does it say? – OxfamBlogs

This is at the geeky, number-crunching end of my spectrum, but I think it’s worth a look (and anyway, they asked nicely). The 2016 Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index was published yesterday. It now covers 102 countries in total, including 75 per cent of the world’s population, or 5.2 billion people. Of this proportion, 30 per cent of people (1.6 billion) are identified as multidimensionally poor read more

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New York Times article compares OPHI poverty figures with World Bank’s poverty line

The New York Times has quoted the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2014 in an article on the progress against poverty. The article by Anna Bernasek references the Global MPI 2014 calculations that put the number of multidimensionally poor people in the world at 1.6 billion. This in contrast to the World Bank’s $1.25 a day income-based estimation that has found 1 billion people to be in poverty worldwide.

The article states that although varying definitions of extreme poverty present measurement challenges, ‘still, there is agreement that extreme poverty has been on the decline since the mid-1990s and that the decline has accelerated since 2000.’

The Global MPI was calculated for 108 countries by OPHI in June 2014. Of the 1.6 billion people identified as multidimensionally poor, most live in South Asia (52%), followed by Sub-Saharan Africa (29%). The majority of MPI poor people (71%) live in Middle Income Countries. The calculations also revealed that nearly all countries that reduced MPI poverty also reduced inequality among the poor. Of 34 countries for which were studied for changes over time, 30 – covering 98% of the poor people across all 34 – significantly reduced multidimensional poverty.

Further information

Read the full article published by The New York Times: A Global Gauge Finds Progress Against Poverty.

Click on the graphs button (top right corner) to see a comparison of the poverty figures for Global MPI 2014 and $1.25 a day on OPHI’s interactive databank.

Find out more about the Global MPI 2014

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Nigerian newspaper This Day Live publishes article on Global MPI 2014

The Nigerian newspaper This Day Live has published an article on the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2014. The Global MPI briefing for Nigeria was referenced by former minister of the National Planning Commission Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman, who delivered a keynote address in Abuja at the 25th anniversary lecture of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation. Usman noted that policymakers need to empathise and have a feel of what poverty really is in order to design effective alleviation programmes.

The Global MPI, calculated by OPHI in June 2014, revealed that 43.3 per cent of the Nigerian population are multidimensionally poor, including 25.3 per cent who live in severe poverty. A further 19.3 per cent of the population are vulnerable to poverty. The findings also showed that 57.5% of those living in rural areas are multidimensionally poor.

Nigeria is a member of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN). Read more about Nigeria’s participation in the MPPN.

Further information

Read the full article published by This Day Live: ‘New Oxford Report Puts Nigeria’s Poverty rate at 43.3%’.

Find out more about the Global MPI 2014 and findings for Nigeria.


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Huffington Post publishes article on social isolation by OPHI Scholar in Residence, Kim Samuel

The Huffington Post has published an article by OPHI Scholar in Residence Kim Samuel titled ‘The Youngest Victims: Combating the Social Isolation of Ebola Orphans’, in which she presses for the global community to treat the outbreak of Ebola as not only a public health crisis but also a humanitarian crisis.

In the post, Samuel cautions against ignoring the emotional health of children affected by Ebola and highlights the social isolation they can face. She writes: ‘For younger children, the reality of being orphaned by Ebola is even worse. With no means to provide for themselves, they are dependent on adult care — yet even relatives are often too afraid to take them in. Children tell of being chased away by family, even though they’ve tested negative for the virus.’

Further information

Read the full article in the Huffington Post, published on 21 October 2014.

Find out more about OPHI’s work on social isolation as part of its research on the Missing Dimensions of Poverty.

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Launch of the Global MPI 2014 picked up in the media and blogosphere

mpi2014_8The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2014 was launched on 16 June 2014 with presentations by the co-authors Ana Vaz, Suman Seth, Adriana Conconi and Sabina Alkire (from left to right, right). To access all the Global MPI 2014 resources, click here.

The index was the focus of a feature in prestigious magazine The Atlantic. ‘Good news: Economists at Oxford have come up with a better method for measuring global poverty,’ states the strapline. ‘[The Global MPI 2014] is being touted as the most accurate reflection of the world’s poor, a sort of census of the global impoverished population,’ it goes on to say. You can read the feature in full here.

The launch of the Global MPI 2014 was also heralded on Duncan Green’s high-profile ‘From Poverty to Power‘ blog on 16 June 2014. Green describes the index as ‘fascinating’; ‘every now and then, I get caught up in some of the nerdy excitement generated by measuring the state of the world,’ he writes. You can read the post in full here.

Green’s blog was re-published widely, including on the World Bank’s People, Spaces, Deliberation blog.

Voice of America (VOA) also covered the launch of the Global MPI 2014, publishing an article titled ‘Poverty Called Multidimensional‘. The article features an interview with OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire in which she explains the need for a multidimensional measure of poverty to complement income measures.

“It needs a measure that looks at the other aspects of people’s lives — like bad health, bad education, no water and sanitation or poor housing – and sees how they’re doing in those,” she told VOA, the official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government. “Because it’s actually not the same people who are poor in both. And so both measures together give a more balanced picture of how people are living.”

You can read the article in full here.

The Global MPI 2014 findings were also picked up in India; RTT News and  The Hindu BusinessLine ran stories under the headline ‘India is poorest in South Asia after Afghanistan’, while the Hindustan Times went with ‘343mn people destitute in India: Oxford study’.

Devex and The Practitioner Hub blog both covered the launch, and Oxford University’s website ran a feature titled ‘Half of the world’s poor classed as ‘destitute’‘.

The launch was also flagged up by Andy Sumner in an article for the Global Policy Journal. Sumner, who co-directs the International Development Institute at Kings’ College London, analyses expected revisions in income poverty estimates and suggests more attention should be given to multidimensional poverty data in the article, titled ‘Did Global Poverty just fall a lot, quite a bit or not at all?’.

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Sabina Alkire delivers keynote speech at ALCADECA, Peru

OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire delivered the keynote speech at the closing plenary of the Fifth Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Association for Human Development and the Capabilities Approach (ALCADECA), held in Lima, Peru, from 14-16 May 2014.

The conference, titled ‘Ethics, Agency and Human Development’, focused on the agency effectively exercised by citizens in decades of substantial economic growth, social policy expansion and diversification of government styles in Latin American and the Caribbean. It was attended by academics, researchers, policymakers and practitioners working in different arenas.

Punto Edu, the newspaper of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), published an interview with Alkire which can be read here. OPHI’s Director was also interviewed by the magazine La Mula on economic growth and poverty measurement, for a piece that can be read here.

The conference closed an intensive two-week trip around the Americas by Alkire and other members of the OPHI team. Highlights of the trip included: presentations at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) in New York; a lecture at  the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City; and a lecture at the Universidad de la Republica in Montevideo, Uruguay.

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Article by Jean Drèze highlights the usefulness of the Global MPI

The Hindu has published an opinion piece by the economist Jean Drèze in which he highlights the usefulness of the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).

In his article assessing the development achievements of the state of Gujarat in India, Drèze highlights Gujarat’s ranking on the Global MPI, noting that: ‘In the latest MPI ranking of Indian States, by Sabina Alkire and her colleagues at Oxford University, Gujarat comes 9th (again) among 20 major Indian States’.

Drèze writes that the Global MPI is a useful summary index for a comparison of poverty. ‘Briefly, the idea is that poverty manifests itself in different kinds of deprivation — lack of food, shelter, sanitation, schooling, health care, and so on,’ he explains. ‘Starting with a list of basic deprivations, a household is considered “poor” if it has more than a given proportion (say one third) of these deprivations.’

The article ‘The Gujarat Middle’ appeared in The Hindu on 10 May 2014. The updated Global MPI will be launched on 16 June 2014 at an event in London which will be video streamed live online; find out how to register your interest in the launch event here, and read more about the Global MPI 2013 here.

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Pakistan signs agreement to develop a national Multidimensional Poverty Index

OPHI,-UNDP,-Pakistan-signing-WEBPakistan’s Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and OPHI have signed an agreement to develop a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for Pakistan.

The signing marks the beginning of the process of regularly calculating a new poverty index for Pakistan which will be based on the Alkire Foster method developed at OPHI. This method underlies the Global MPI, an international measure of acute poverty covering over 100 developing countries which has been calculated by OPHI and published in UNDP’s flagship Human Development Report since 2010.

At the signing, Pakistan’s Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal (pictured centre, above) said: “The traditional one-dimensional indices cannot reflect the true poverty levels in Pakistan. The MPI is more comprehensive, integrated and holistic as it covers education, health and living standards. This partnership between the Government, UNDP and University of Oxford will help us understand, and better address issues related to poverty in Pakistan.”

A comprehensive national report on multidimensional poverty at the district and provincial level is being prepared using Pakistan Social & Living Standard Measurement (PSLM) survey data for the last four to five years, the Dawn newspaper reported. Pakistan’s MPI will enable policymakers to ‘develop robust revenue-sharing formulas for the National Finance Commission and provincial NFC awards for allocation of resources to provinces and districts’, it said.

Marc-André Franche, UNDP Country Director in Pakistan (pictured left, above), said: “The MPI is crucial for policymaking and improving the targeting of social policy. It is vital to develop a robust revenue formula, improve policy design and monitor effectiveness of policy over time. Each country needs to choose dimensions that are most important for measuring poverty. In Pakistan, this is the first step for measuring the multidimensional poverty both at the federal and provincial levels and UNDP is extremely pleased to be part of this process.”

Islamabad-training-WEBThe signing followed a 10-day training course on the AF method at the Pakistan Planning and Management Institute in Islamabad (pictured right), which was run by OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire (pictured right in the photo above) with researchers Adriana Conconi and Moizza Sarwar.

In addition to the report in the Dawn newspaper, the signing was covered by The News, The Hindu, The Express Tribune, The Nation, Pakistan Today and the Business Recorder.

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OPHI Director discusses Bhutan’s new poverty measure in Kuensel article

Sabina Alkire has contributed to a news article about the launch of a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for Bhutan.

The article, published in Kuensel and titled ‘New Oxford methodology to study poverty’, discusses the adoption of the Alkire Foster method to construct the national poverty measure, and describes how the MPI will take into account a broader range of factors than poverty measures previously used in Bhutan. For example, the new measure includes indicators on cooking fuel, which has implications for respiratory health and education.

“The new methodology will be more comprehensive and precise,” Alkire told Kuensel, going on to explain that: “Each indicator has a certain weight. To reach the minimum poverty line, the household must perform well in at least nine indicators.”

The results of Bhutan’s national MPI are due to be announced in the next few weeks.

You can read the Kuensel article, which was published on 31 December 2013, here.

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CNN mentions OPHI’s work in stories of note in 2013

In a special news piece over Christmas, CNN reported on four stories of note from 2013, including OPHI’s analysis of the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2013.

The article noted that ‘a study from Oxford University’s Poverty and Human Development Initiative…concluded that developing countries were enjoying remarkable success in alleviating the worst poverty.’ The piece goes on to describe how OPHI’s findings were echoed in the United Nations’ 2013 Human Development Report. The authors noted that growth and a combination of increased aid and a focus on health and education help explain the decreases observed in poverty.

You can read the article here, and can access the full OPHI study quoted by the CNN report here.

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OPHI Director discusses multidimensional poverty on Voice of Russia

OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire gave an interview to the Voice of Russia radio station on 13 January 2014, in which she discussed multidimensional poverty and how it is changing over time.

In the interview, Alkire explains how the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is constructed and what it can tell us. She also discusses findings from OPHI studies, including on where the world’s multidimensional poor live, and on changes in multidimensional poverty over time.

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 interview with Alkire here.

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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.

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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.

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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.

You can read the Talk Vietnam article here and read more about the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network here.

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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.

You can read the full blog post here, and find out more about the WEAI here.

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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.

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Alkire article on Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network featured in Outreach magazine

An article by OPHI Director Sabina Alkire has been published in Outreach, a magazine produced by the Stakeholder Forum at international meetings including this week’s UN General Assembly in New York.

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.

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Guardian covers calls for UN to adopt new poverty measure

A side-event co-organised by OPHI at the UN General Assembly on 24th September is the subject of an article by the UK’s Guardian newspaper, ‘We need new ways to measure poverty, UN meeting told’.

guardianThe 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.

Read the Guardian article here and find out more about the event here.

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OPHI’s research featured in Economist article on approaches to eradicating poverty

OPHI’s research on changes to multidimensional poverty over time features in an article on eradicating poverty in this week’s issue of the Economist.

economist2013The 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.

You can read the Economist article in full here. You can find out more about the event ‘Multidimensional poverty measurement in the post-2015 development context’ here.

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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.

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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.

Read the full article in Spanish here. To get an overview of OPHI’s work in Latin America, visit our website here.

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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.

You can read the full article here, and find out more about our previous and upcoming summer schools here.

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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.

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‘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.

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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.

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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.

OPHI Research Associate and Co-Founder John Hammock gave the first lecture in this series on the ‘Ethics of Development’ when he was in Nicaragua earlier this year. James Foster, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, and another OPHI Research Associate, gave a seminar via Skype on multidimensional poverty measurement. The final lecture of the series will be given by Jorge Pineda of the UN’s Development Program (UNDP).

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Vietnam joins Peer Network as it moves to adopt multidimensional poverty measure

john-vietnamVietnam’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.

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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 HeraldEl 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.

Across the Americas, it was covered by Terra in Brazil, El Economista in Mexico and La Opinión in the US, among others.

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 Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network will provide support for countries that are considering or developing official measures of multidimensional poverty based on the Alkire Foster method developed at OPHI.

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.

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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.

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Alkire blog features in ODI’s Development In Progress newsletter

A blog by OPHI Director Sabina Alkire on measuring poverty in the post-2015 development context is featured in the Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) latest Development Progress e-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.

Read the Development Progress May 2013 E-newsletter in full.

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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.

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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.

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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, PortafolioEl 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;
  • Labour;
  • Health;
  • Access to household utilities and living conditions.

The five dimensions are equally weighted and use 15 indicators. Find out more.

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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.

UK – The Observer, Daily Mail, The Economist, The Telegraph

International – MSN, AlertNet, OECD Insights, The International

Argentina – La Nacion

Brazil – Terra.com

China – The China Post, Xinhua, China.org, People’s Daily

Georgia – The Messenger

India – Deccan Herald, DNA, Economic Times, The Hindu, Hindustan Times, IBNLive, NDTV, ReutersThe Times of India, ZeeNews

Malawi – The Maravi Post, Nyasa Times

Nepal – The Himalayan Times, The Kathmandu Post, República

New Zealand – NZweek

Nigeria – ConnectNigeria.com

Rwanda – News of Rwanda

Singapore – Economy Watch

Sweden – Dagen

Thailand – Financial Express

US – Bloomberg, Fox News, TopNews, Deseret News

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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’.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.’

AA high-resolution lens: audio interview with Sabina Alkire

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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

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