Apia, Samoa – Twenty-one public servants from Samoa, the Cook Islands, and Tokelau have completed training on how to use the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to provide a more comprehensive measurement of vulnerability and poverty.
The 17 participants from Samoa and two from Tokelau received their certification to that effect today after six weeks of online training that brought together statisticians, policymakers, technical experts and other stakeholders from the public service in these countries to strengthen their capacities regarding the MPI. The two participants from the Cook Islands received theirs virtually.
“The training was an eye-opener in terms of broadening my view of what constitutes poverty. We’ve always linked poverty to the lack of money, but the MPI training has enlightened me on other important areas that a person can be deprived of such as good health, sanitation and education,” said Tonumaipe’a Juan Aiolupotea, Senior Officer, Information Unit at the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture.
“I found the MPI training very interesting. It involved a lot of information gathering which some of it had to come from outside of the Statistics Office, for example the BMI data is from the Ministry of Health, but not all individuals are covered in the data collected in certain age groups. It also involved the use of information collected in the Household Income and Expenditure Survey which was conducted in 2015-2016. In the case of education, our 2016 Census of Population and Dwelling information can be used,” said Tanga Morris, Statistics Officer at the Cook Islands Ministry of Finance and Economic Management.
The MPI was jointly developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) from the University of Oxford, to broaden a country’s poverty metrics in line with the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Experts from OPHI conducted the trainings from July to August this year.
“The training has driven home the significance of data and indicators in ensuring that no one is left behind. It is a great reminder that we need to look at poverty and other metrics from a holistic perspective. This is especially relevant for Tokelau, where poverty is not considered extensive, but when you take into consideration factors such as health, nutrition, education, and standard of living, you can then see poverty from a different perspective,” said Kele Lui, National Statistician for Tokelau.
With the use of the national MPI, UNDP and OPHI hope to strengthen national capacities to build a deeper, more complete understanding of what poverty means in their national contexts to complement existing monetary measures; track, report and review progress in reducing multidimensional poverty in keeping with the 2030 Agenda; use evidence to improve policies, reach the most severely poor, and facilitate approaches to implement the SDGs that work across sectors to address the deprivations that leave people behind; and broaden national ownership and engagement in efforts to eradicate poverty in all its forms.
“National MPIs can be a useful tool to monitor progress on the SDGs and it can be used for different policy purposes. For instance, to align programmes, policies and budgets; to motivate the coordination between ministries, the coordination of national government; or to strengthen transparency and accountability. The national MPI offers a tailored pathway to each country towards ending poverty and bringing about change,” said Jorn Sorensen, UNDP Resident Representative.
“The MPI has a wider focus on poverty measurement than the income measurement. This also means the MPI has a wider coverage of poverty factors for policy decisions. This is a valuable contribution to poverty measurements,” said Aliimuamua Malaefono Taua Faasalaina, Chief Executive Officer, Samoa Bureau of Statistics.
The MPI is one of the key activities under Outcome Area 2 of the Social Protection Joint Programme of the United Nations, in partnership with the Governments of the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, and Tokelau.
The joint programme aims to ensure that Social Protection floors are efficiently and effectively administered to develop a Multidimensional Poverty Index for Samoa, and to increase resilience through viable and financially sustainable Social Protection systems that will address life cycle vulnerabilities, strengthen Social Protection floors and enhance employability.
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