Designing a Multidimensional Poverty Index (2021)

In this course, you will learn to develop a holistic Multidimensional Poverty Index that integrates the income dimension with deprivations across health, education, housing, sanitation, employment and livelihoods, food security, environment, and other living standards to inform the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

 


Duration: 6 modules
Estimated effort: 2 – 3 hours per module
Languages: English, French, Spanish
 Course type: Self-paced course


Course syllabus FAQs

UNDP and OPHI are pleased to offer a FREE self-paced course on Designing a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) in English, French, and Spanish. This course draws on the handbook, "How to Build a National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI): Using the MPI to inform the SDGs," launched by UNDP and OPHI in July 2019. The MPI complements traditional monetary poverty measures by capturing severe deprivations in education, health, living standards, employment, safety, and many other dimensions of poverty. Using country and sub-national examples, this course offers detailed practical guidance for policymakers, technical experts, and other stakeholders on how to design an MPI at the national and local levels.

Course highlights and outcomes

  • Gain hands-on tools to develop a comprehensive MPI capturing multiple simultaneous deprivations faced by the poor
  • Take a deep dive into rich learning materials
  • Receive a certificate of completion from premier international development institutions

Course topics

  • Module 1: Introduction to the Multidimensional Poverty Index
  • Module 2: Generating support for the national MPI
  • Module 3: The technical process of creating a national MPI – Part 1
  • Module 4: The technical process of creating a national MPI – Part 2
  • Module 5: Using national MPIs as policy tools
  • Module 6: Applying the MPI towards a COVID-19 recovery

Learning objectives

By the time the course is completed, you will be able to:

  • Understand the steps involved in developing a robust MPI
  • Examine the normative choices and technical requirements of multidimensional poverty measurement
  • Understand the key aspects of stakeholder engagement in designing and using an MPI
  • Monitor, analyze and report progress in reducing multidimensional poverty at national and local levels, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Course completion requirements

To receive the certificate of course completion, participants must:

  • Complete five online lessons
  • Pass five module quizzes
  • Watch all course lectures
  • Pass the final test
  • Complete the course survey

The course content is now available. You may start and complete the course at any time. When you complete all the course requirements, your certificate of completion will be generated automatically and will become available for download on this page. If you have any questions, please contact the Learning for Nature team at [email protected]

Click “Enroll” to register today. We invite you to introduce yourself to fellow course participants on the Meet and Greet forum below.


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Course Includes

  • 9 Modules
  • 25 Activities
  • 6 quizzes
  • Course Certificate

Course syllabus

Module 1Module 2Module 3Module 4Module 5Module 6

Week 1: Introduction to a multidimensional approach to poverty elimination

This module provides the background for undertaking the multidimensional approach to poverty eradication. It explains the difference between monetary and multidimensional poverty, outlines motivations for the multidimensional approach to poverty eradication, defines a national MPI and explains its objectives and value.

REQUIRED: Lesson and Quiz

Lesson 1: Introduction to the multidimensional approach to poverty eradication (45 minutes)

Objectives:

  • Describe the difference between monetary and multidimensional poverty
  • Outline motivations for the multidimensional approach to poverty eradication
  • Define a national MPI and its objectives
  • Explain the value of a national MPI

Quiz 1: Introduction to the multidimensional approach to poverty eradication

Quiz 1 checks your comprehension of the material covered in Lesson 1.

REQUIRED: Lectures

  • Sabina Alkire “National MPIs and Sustainable Development Goals”
  • Achim Steiner “Importance and applications of national MPIs”

RECOMMENDED: Case studies

  • Panama
  • Dominican Republic

OPTIONAL: Discussion forum

  1. Where does your country stand in terms of the level of income and multidimensional poverty? If your country is not listed, then select a country you are interested in.

    • Review “Table 1: MPI Developing Countries” of the Global MPI 2019 Illuminating Inequalities report and one Country Briefing of your choice, and share the statistics for your country and your reflections on the discussion forum.
    • Reflect on the differences between the percentage of the population living below the income poverty line and the population in multidimensional poverty for your selected country. What factors do you think contribute to this difference?

  2. Which of the possible policy uses of national MPIs do you think would be most appealing to policymakers in your country? Please explain.
  3. Review the list of countries that have implemented national or local MPIs as official poverty measures here. Select one of the countries from the list and research the information about that country’s MPI available online. Based on your research, identify the motivation of your selected country to compute a national MPI and share your findings on the discussion forum.

Week 2: Generating support for the national MPI

This module discusses the process of engagement with different actors and how institutional arrangements facilitate the process of designing, computing and using national MPIs. It also explains the relevance of a solid communications strategy to guarantee the sustainability of the measure over time.

REQUIRED: Lesson and Quiz

Lesson 2: Generating support for the national MPI (45 minutes)

Objectives:

  • Outline the four pivotal requirements for the sustainability and effectiveness of the national MPI as a policy tool
  • Convey the importance of having a clear sense of the relevant stakeholders and defining a compact strategy to bring key players on board at the right time
  • Describe the characteristics of a successful communications strategy for a national MPI process

Quiz 2: Generating support for the national MPI

Quiz 2 checks your comprehension of the material covered in Lesson 2.

REQUIRED: Lectures

  • Shakeel Ahmad “Changing the poverty narrative with a national MPI”
  • Monica Pinilla-Roncancio “Identifying MPI champions”

RECOMMENDED: Case studies

  • El Salvador
  • Europe and Central Asia

OPTIONAL: Discussion forum

  1. If you were to make an elevator pitch for your national MPI to your country’s top leadership, what would it look like? Share it on the discussion forum in writing or make a video of your pitch (maximum of 1 minute).
  2. Think of 3-5 facts or statistics you can use to draw stakeholders’ attention to the value of the national MPI in your context? Share them on the discussion forum.
  3. Follow a template for a communications plan for a national MPI presented in Lesson 2 (slide “A communications strategy template”) and brainstorm responses to the first five steps given your national context: overall goals, communications objectives, target audiences, key messages, communications tools.

Week 3: The technical process of creating a national MPI – Part 1

This module presents the Alkire-Foster method and discusses the process of building the multidimensional poverty measure, from the definition of the unit of identification to the selection of the poverty cut-off. The module also presents real examples of how countries have made these decisions and provides technical and normative arguments to validate each of them. Finally, the module's content discusses the different sources of information that can be used when developing a national MPI.

REQUIRED: Lesson and Quiz

Lesson 3: The technical process of creating a national MPI – Part 1 (45 min)

Objectives:

  • Describe each step of the design process for a national MPI
  • Showcase real examples of countries’ decisions in the design of their national MPI’s
  • Outline the different sources of information that can be used when developing a national MPI
  • Describe the steps involved in computing an MPI using the Alkire-Foster method

Quiz 3: The technical process of creating a national MPI – Part 1

Quiz 3 checks your comprehension of the material covered in Lesson 3.

REQUIRED: Lectures

  • James Foster “The Alkire Foster methodology”
  • Sabina Alkire “Interpreting the MPI”

RECOMMENDED: Case studies

  • National Multidimensional Poverty Index: South Africa
  • Global Multidimensional Poverty Index
  • Examples of national MPI design

OPTIONAL: Discussion forum

  1. Using the tips from Lesson 3, draft a purpose statement for a national MPI for your country or a country of your choice. Share it on the discussion forum.
  2. Review the list of countries that have implemented national or local MPIs as official poverty measures here. Select one of the countries from the list and analyze the choice of dimensions, indicators and weights in its MPI. Share the findings for a country of your choice on the discussion forum.
  3. Brainstorm the universe of indicators that could be relevant for your national MPI. Explain your choices.
  4. Assign weights to each indicator you included in the universe of indicators to indicate their relative importance. Explain your choices.
  5. Create alternative structures combining the different indicators included in the universe. The structures can include different indicators or sets of weights. Explain what differences you would expect to find.

Week 4: The technical process of creating a national MPI – Part 2

Module 4 explores how to analyze candidate measures, how to select the final version of the national MPI, and what additional analyses should be conducted. The module's content also discusses how to analyze changes over time and track progress in the MPI, and provides a summary of how the national MPI could be presented to the public.

REQUIRED: Lesson and Quiz

Lesson 4: The technical process of creating a national MPI – Part 2 (45 minutes)

Objectives:

  • Outline the steps needed to calculate and analyze the candidate measures for a national MPI
  • Explain the additional analyses that should be conducted before selecting the final version of an MPI
  • Explain how to conduct a detailed analysis of the results and final checks for a national MPI
  • Outline principles for the revision of a national MPI
  • Discuss ways to analyze changes over time and track progress in the MPI
  • Provide recommendations for presenting a national MPI to the public

Quiz 4: The technical process of creating a national MPI – Part 2

Quiz 4 checks your comprehension of the material covered in Lesson 4.

REQUIRED: Lectures

  • Ricardo Nogales “Key take-aways from the technical process of national MPI design”
  • Davina Osei “Communicating the national MPI”

RECOMMENDED: Case studies

  • MPI for refugees in Uganda
  • Chile

OPTIONAL: Discussion forum

  1. When it comes to presenting your national MPI to the public, which stakeholder group do you anticipate being difficult to convince? What concerns do you think this group might have and how would you address them?
  2. In preparation for the launch of your national MPI, you will need to decide on each speakers’ key messages to make sure that critical points are covered and to avoid confusion. Imagine you are tasked with drafting the talking points for one of the high-level speakers. Share 3-5 talking points you would propose.
  3. In Lesson 4, John Hammock gives an example of a quick and simplified way of explaining the Alkire-Foster method to politicians. Draft a paragraph outlining how you would explain the AF method to politicians in your country.
  4. Imagine that you have run robustness analyses and statistical tests for your national MPI, and they conclude that your estimates and comparisons are not robust and/or statistically significant. What would be your next step?

Week 5: Using national MPIs as policy tools

Module 5 presents examples of how countries have used their national MPI as a policy tool to reduce multidimensional poverty.

REQUIRED: Lesson and Quiz

Lesson 5: Using national MPIs as policy tools (45 minutes)

Objectives:

  • Outline primary policy applications of national MPIs
  • Give an overview of multidimensional targeting and multidimensional impact evaluation as some of the applications of national MPIs
  • Share examples of ways in which countries have used MPIs in their national contexts

Quiz 5: Using national MPIs as policy tools

Quiz 5 checks your comprehension of the material covered in Lesson 5.

REQUIRED: Lectures

  • Luis Felipe López-Calva “Policy relevance of national MPIs”
  • Christian Oldiges “Policy applications of national MPIs”


RECOMMENDED: Case studies

  • National MPI in Mexico
  • National MPI in Bolivia
  • Subnational MPI in Tarija, Bolivia
  • National MPI in Pakistan

OPTIONAL: Discussion forum

  1. What are the primary policy applications you can foresee for your national MPI?
  2. The support of which stakeholders in your country would be critical to enable the MPI to be used as a policy tool?
  3. Imagine that you do not have political support for using your national MPI as a policy tool. What arguments would you present to politicians in your country to convince them to consider policy applications of the MPI?

Week 6: Applying the MPI towards a COVID-19 recovery

Module 6 presents the uses of the Multidimensional Poverty Index for policy interventions for a COVID-19 recovery.

REQUIRED: Lectures

  • Sabina Alkire “Using MPI during the COVID-19 pandemic”
  • Abdoulaye Mar Dieye “The value-added of a multidimensional poverty approach for a COVID-19 recovery strategy”

RECOMMENDED: Case studies

  • Vietnam
  • Panama

REQUIRED: Final test

The final test assesses your comprehension of the core information presented during the course.

REQUIRED: Course survey

Your feedback is important to us. We ask that you complete a short (anonymous) survey about your learning experience.

OPTIONAL: Discussion forum

  1. How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected Global MPI risk factors (undernutrition, unsafe drinking water, or solid cooking fuel) in your country?
  2. Imagine that your national government developed an MPI as a mechanism to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Identify 2-3 potential policies that the MPI would add to your country’s recovery plan?

Frequently Asked Questions