Headline, February13, 2014



I recall  just so vividly  my grandmother,  and then, even my mother, cooking with all of the above: Dung-wood-charcoal.

IN Many,  -many people's eyes, to be poor is to lack income. And that is as damn good a place to start the study of deprivation, but just not a good place to end it.

Income is not the only thing people care about. And what it can buy varies a lot from one person to another. The chronically sick, for example, need more income than the healthy to lead an equally fulfilling life.

It is not easy for the head and heart, however, to turn these philosophical and hurting musings into workable measurements. One valiant effort is the  "Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index  -(MPI)-  devised by Sabina Alkre and her colleagues at the:

Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. It begins with ten questions that appear in surveys carried out sporadically by USAID, America's aid agency, and Unicef. Two of the questions cover education, two address health and the remaining six assess a household's standard of living.

Each of these  ten deprivations  is given a weight in the overall index. A household is deemed poor if its deprivations, duly weighted, duly add up to at least 33%.

Thus an uneducated family that has lost a child is regarded as poor no matter how many consumer durables it owns. 

A country's MPI is the product of both the breadth of poverty  (the proportion of people whose score is over 33%) and its depth  -the average score of the poor.

This inside brush paints a different picture of  hardship than narrower measures based only on income or consumption. 

Uganda and Cambodia, for example,    have been notably successful in cutting the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day the World Bank's global poverty standard.

But Nepal and Rwanda have done markedly better at reducing  ''multi-dimensional''  poverty.

In 2006 around 60% of Nepalis were poor, according to the MPI. By 2011 the share was less than 45%. The proportion of poor Rwandans fell from over 80%  in 2005 to 66% in 2010.

At that rate of progress, Nepal would end poverty by 2022; Rwanda by 2030.

The many parts of the index can be unbundled, revealing different patterns of progress. 

Nepal, for example, improved health and living standards but was slower to improve education or widen access to drinking water.

In Rwanda improvements in access to water and sanitation accounted for a large part of its overall success.

These gains would have been missed by a narrower $1.25-a-day measure.

And in the MPI,  by the way : No car or truck and only one out of a radio, TV, telephone bike, motorbike or refrigerator has  1/18 weight in index.

The living world's  decathlon of Poverty and Deprivation continues. Don't miss the next Post.

With respectful; dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of Rwanda, and Cambodia. See Ya all on the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

Most respectful dedication to the Billions of Women who waged and wore the great badge of dignity and honour of serving

''' The Ghost Of Many A Sorrow '''

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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