Designing a Multidimensional Poverty Index (2022)

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: 7 modules
Estimated effort: 2 – 3 hours per week
Languages: English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic
 Course type: Self-paced course

FAQs Meet the experts

UNDP and OPHI are pleased to offer a FREE self-paced course on Designing a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) in English, French, Spanish, and Russian. 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 – Part 1
  • Module 2: Introduction to the Multidimensional Poverty Index – Part 2 (optional)
  • Module 3: Generating support for the national MPI
  • Module 4: The technical process of creating a national MPI – Part 1
  • Module 5: The technical process of creating a national MPI – Part 2
  • Module 6: Using national MPIs as policy tools
  • Module 7: 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 weekly quizzes
  • Watch all course lectures
  • Pass the final test
  • Complete the course survey

Click “Enroll” to register today. When you register, you will receive a confirmation email from the course team.

Course Content

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Course Includes

  • 10 Modules
  • 29 Activities
  • 6 quizzes
  • Course Certificate

Frequently Asked Questions


Shakeel Ahmad is a Development Economist by training and currently serves as Country Programme Specialist at the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub. Before assuming his current post, he was the Assistant Resident Representative and Chief of Development Policy Unit in UNDP Pakistan. Mr. Ahmad advised the Government of Pakistan on the national Multidimensional Poverty Index and its use for poverty targeting. He remained a member of the high-level committee of the Planning Commission of Pakistan on SDGs and Poverty Alleviation. Mr. Ahmad has 19 year of experience in the development sector. He has a post-graduate degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Sabina Alkire is the Director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), a research centre within the Oxford Department of International Development, University of Oxford. Her research interests and publications include multidimensional poverty measurement and analysis, welfare economics, Amartya Sen’s capability approach, Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness index, and human development. She holds a DPhil in Economics from the University of Oxford.

Abdoulaye Mar Dieye is the Special Coordinator for Development in the Sahel. Mr. Dieye is a macroeconomist and development expert with strong leadership experience in managing complex development portfolios over the last 35 years. Mr. Dieye was previously Special Adviser to the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He has held several positions in UNDP, including as Assistant Administrator and Director for the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (2018-2019), Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa (2013-2018), Chief of Staff of the Administrator, and Director of the Executive Office (2009-2013), and as Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States (2006-2009). Prior to that, he served as Deputy Special Representative for the United Nations Operations in Cote d’Ivoire and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Abidjan. Prior to joining the United Nations, Mr. Dieye held several senior positions within the Government of Senegal.

James Foster is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University. Professor Foster received his Ph.D. in Economics from Cornell University where he received the Selma Fine Goldsmith Award for his dissertation. He held positions at the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University and Department of Economics at Vanderbilt before joining the Elliott School. He has been a visiting professor at the London School of Economics, Cornell, Essex, Oxford, Harvard, and the University of the Americas in Puebla, Mexico. He received the Unilever Fellowship (UK) and the Robert Wood Johnson Investigator Award in Health Policy, and holds a Doctorate Honoris Causa, from Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Hidalgo (Mexico).

Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva is the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. He leads the organization´s work and teams in 40 countries and territories in the region helping bring governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector together to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ricardo Nogales is a Research Officer at OPHI. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics and a PhD in Econometrics, all from the University of Geneva. Before joining OPHI, he was an Associate Lecturer in Economics at the School of Economics and Finance of the Universidad Privada Boliviana and a Research Assistant at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) in Switzerland. He has carried out research activities in development economics, poverty reduction and human development with the IDB, UNDP, ILO, World Bank, Oxfam and IDRC. Ricardo has been an external consultant for several public organizations in Bolivia, including the Program for Strategic Research, the Central Bank, the Institute for Agricultural Insurance and the Ministry of Economics and Public Finance.

Christian Oldiges is a trained Development Economist, currently serving as Policy Specialist at the Inclusive Growth team of UNDP/BPPS, New York. He brings more than 10 years of experience in the fields of development economics, policy advocacy, and social protection. Previously, as Director of Policy Research at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford, he was directly involved in developing national MPIs with governments in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In his postdoctoral at Oxford, he wrote on multidimensional poverty and its interlinkages with COVID-19, migration, and conflict, as well as on workfare programmes and food security. Christian holds a PhD in Economics from Heidelberg University, Germany.

Davina Osei is a Researcher within the outreach team of OPHI. She supports national governments in the development, analysis and use of national multidimensional poverty indices (MPIs). She holds a PhD in Economics from the UNU-MERIT/Maastricht University and a Master’s in Applied Economics from the University of Strathclyde. Prior to joining OPHI, Davina worked as a tutor and researcher at UNU-MERIT. She has also consulted for UN FAO and the African Development Bank. Davina has worked with the UNDP Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP) on environmental and sustainable livelihoods projects, as well as the GIZ African Cashew Initiative (ACi) on agricultural and human development projects. Davina`s expertise lies in development economics with a focus on institutions, environment, poverty and well-being.

Monica Pinilla-Roncancio is the Co-Director of Metrics and Policy at OPHI, co-leading the outreach team. She coordinates outreach work in Latin America, East Asia and some countries in Africa and Middle East. Monica is a trained Physiotherapist with a Master’s degree in Economics from Universidad del Rosario. She also has a Master’s degree in Health Economics, Policy and Law from Erasmus University Rotterdam. Monica received her PhD in Social Policy at the University of Birmingham. From 2016 to 2018, she was a Postdoctoral Researcher at Universidad de los Andes, where she remains an Assistant Professor. Her main research interests include disability, multidimensional poverty, inequality and health economics.

Achim Steiner became UNDP Administrator on 19 June 2017 and will serve for a term of four years. Mr. Steiner is also the Vice-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group, which unites 40 entities of the UN system that work to support sustainable development. Over nearly three decades, Achim Steiner has been a global leader on sustainable development, climate resilience and international cooperation. Prior to joining UNDP, he was Director of the Oxford Martin School and Professorial Fellow of Balliol College, University of Oxford. Mr Steiner has served across the United Nations system, looking at global challenges from both a humanitarian and a development perspective.