UNICEF/OAS discuss how to measure poverty Print
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Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

Representatives from various Government Organizations met at the Inspiration Center on Thursday, November 30, 2017 along with the representatives of UNICEF and the OAS in Belize to discuss multidimensional poverty. The discussion focused on poverty in Belize and its effect on children especially. The first part of the discussion was an open house sponsored by UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation, and Poverty Alleviation.

There, the concept of the multidimensional poverty index was introduced. This index will be used to measure poverty in its various facets, facets that go beyond income and expenditure. According to Dr. Susan Kasedde, UNICEF Representative in Belize, that information is pertinent to efficiently and comprehensively address poverty and its effect on children.

We are “looking at factors related to inclusion, quality of services, participation, and overall investment in the development of the potential of a human being. So, for children, we are interested in looking at the inclusion in school, in education. We are interested in looking at the quality of the learning that is happening in schools. We are looking for opportunities for learning from the earliest age and preparedness for school to completion of schooling. When we look at all of these together with access to health interventions, the quality of health interventions for the young child, for the adolescent and we look at protection we are able to get a more rounded picture of the experience of the most vulnerable children in our community and the effects of poverty in their inclusion and their quality of life.”

Belize has so far defined very specific goals as part of the strategy to achieve the SDG agenda which includes ending poverty. In order to sufficiently do so, poverty needs to be understood in all its manifestations.

The second part of the discussion was a more technical workshop sponsored by the OAS. In that discussion, it was determined how poverty could be addressed and measured.

Mark Antrobus, Social Planner, Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation also spoke of poverty in its many dimensions. “We have been measuring poverty since 1995. We have had three Country Poverty Assessments. They have all used income as the measure of poverty so this really is the first formal workshop where we are discussing this multi-dimensional aspect. We’ve recognized that poverty has always been multi-dimensional for a long time but we have never been able to measure that and so what we are trying to do here is define how we can measure multidimensional poverty.”