Multidimensional Poverty and Vulnerability in Chad ~ Understanding the Connections

The Government of Chad, the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), Oxford University, and UNICEF-Chad are together working on a study to explore the multi-layered connections between poverty and vulnerability in Chad. The project will generate a new nationally representative dataset with OPHI’s five ‘Missing dimensions of poverty data’ as well as key variables on health behaviours in Chad. The survey design is highly innovative in that information will be gathered from the household head and from all adult women in the household. This will allow a novel study of the intra-household situation of women in each household.

Project goals

Data from the survey will be analysed to address three vital human issues which affect people’s lives in Chad and beyond. In particular, analyses of the data will:

  1. Lay the groundwork to guide development and phased implementation of an evidence-based national social protection programme aimed at using approaches grounded in human rights, women’s empowerment, and community mobilisation to improve girls’ education and to reduce maternal mortality and violence against women in Chad;
  2. Show why and how five ‘missing dimensions of poverty data’ deriving from the ‘capability approach’ could be vital in expanding the scope and effectiveness of UNICEF’s equity-focused programming in general and in a fragile country setting like Chad, in particular; and
  3. Explore the ‘hidden links’ between key social determinants of multidimensional vulnerability and the propensity to adopt some of the proven behaviours, such as breastfeeding and hand washing, in order to contribute to the fine-tuning of related interventions to improve effectiveness and thereby the outcomes.

Project timeline

The project started by developing a new survey instrument that integrated OPHI’s five missing dimensions of poverty data survey modules with more traditional UNICEF indicators and adapting them to the local context. This pilot survey was then tested and revised. Nearly 300 enumerators and supervisors from INSEED were trained in the capital N’Djamena in April and were supported by OPHI Research Officer Diego Zavaleta, and OPHI Consultant, Hicham Ait Mansour.  During May and June of 2012, teams of enumerators are fielding the survey throughout the country.

Exploratory study

Chad is one of the world’s poorest countries and faces numerous challenges that hinder its progress on human development and toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It was ranked 183 out of 187 countries according to UNDP’s 2011 Human Development Index (UNDP 2011). The data currently available makes clear that the country must confront a wide array of deprivations, spanning well beyond income poverty. This exploratory study aims to stimulate innovative and high-impact policy responses to persistent deprivation in the country.

Household survey and ‘Missing Dimensions of Poverty data’ collection

To help address these bottlenecks the study will create a nationally representative household survey of over 4,500 households to be carried out during May and June, 2012. The household survey data analysis together with the relevant secondary research would allow the three collaborators to generate policy-relevant evidence to support advocacy and follow-up measures for accelerated action towards the stated objectives.

In an innovative move, the project is expanding the traditional field of public health behaviours to include OPHI’s ‘missing dimensions of poverty data’ – empowerment, social connectedness, freedom from violence, and good quality, safe work.  The study combines expertise from across government, academia and UNICEF.

Another innovation is to interview each woman in the household separately, in order to understand intra-household poverty and well-being, and also channels of transmission of health behaviours.

Updates and further information about the project will be available on the OPHI website as the work progresses.

Contact the study team: The team welcome ideas, input and feedback. Such queries should be directed to OPHI – Diego Zavaleta, Research Officer:

About the partners

Government of Chad

The Government of Chad’s National Institute of Statistics, Economic and Demographic Studies (INSEED) is taking the lead in data collection, providing both staff, expertise and resources to conduct the 7,000 household-strong survey. INSEED is under the authority of the Ministry of Planning, Economy and International Cooperation. INSEED collects, produces, analyzes, and disseminates information on the economy and social activities in the country. The National Institute of Statistics, Economic and Demographic Studies (INSEED) is responsible for coordinating Chad’s official statistical system. INSEED is also engaged in capacities building and strengthening interagency cooperation. It works with a wide range of partners including development partners, government and research institutions.

Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford

The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) is an economic research centre within the Oxford Department of International Development at the University of Oxford. OPHI aims to build a more systematic framework for reducing multidimensional poverty, grounded in people’s experiences and values. Creating real tools that inform policies to reduce poverty, OPHI has two main research themes: multidimensional poverty measurement (that reflect multiple disadvantages a household faces) and the ‘missing dimensions of poverty data’ (which seeks to improve data on poverty on five topics: physical safety, empowerment, quality of work, freedom from shame and humiliation and psychological wellbeing.) Founded in 2007, OPHI’s innovative methodologies are being adopted by increasing numbers of policy makers, including national governments such as Colombia and Mexico, and the United Nations Development Programme in their flagship Human Development Report in the case of the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). OPHI’s work is grounded in Amartya Sen’s capability approach and is advised by Professor Sudhir Anand, Sir Tony Atkinson and Professor Amartya Sen.

OPHI is providing technical advice for the project on the design of the data collection exercise including sample size, question selection and training, as well as extensive data analysis to identify ‘missing links’ for policy.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

The study is led by UNICEF-Chad’s Social Policy, Planning and Evaluation Division, designing the scope of the project, coordinating the partners, and overseeing all parts of the data collection, data cleaning and data analysis work.