Research Methodologies
Home Contents Introduction Opening Remarks Objectives Introduction to NPMS CSOs/Govt Partnership Poverty Assesment Day One Recap Research Methodologies Monitoring Technique Cross-cutting isssues S E Database Role of CSOs in PRSP Lobbying & Advocacy Monitoring Strategy Lesson Learned Closing Remarks



Presentation on Quantitative Research Methodologies in Monitoring Povert

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Dr. Servus Likwelile the Head of the Department of Economic University of Dar es Salaam started the presentation with the definition of key research methodologies used in poverty monitoring. Poverty monitoring is both a process and method of data collection, which involves information gathering, storage, analysis and dissemination. It was pointed out that poverty monitoring is aimed to achieve the following:

bulletInforming policy/decision makers on prevailing poverty trends/situation
bulletEnhancing the implementation of a particular poverty reduction strategy
bulletTo undertake evaluation or impact assessment of anti-poverty strategies

8.1 Poverty Monitoring Methodologies

Poverty analysis depends on the availability of certain types of information. The purpose of quantitative research on poverty is to generate data and information on income and expenditure aggregates for analysis of trends and distribution of poverty. This information can be obtained from the following sources:

  1. Household Budget Survey (HBS)
    The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) uses this method, which comprises of an 80-page questionnaire and seeks information on demographic characteristics, incomes and social status. The HBS information is obtained from a nationally representative sample located in various areas of the country.
  2. Community Surveys
    Community Surveys are used to analyse community wide facilities and services, and not individual households. Community surveys offer a logical starting point for analysing community-level poverty. Community surveys produce a more in-depth context specific analysis of poverty, therefore complementing household surveys.
  3. Eclectic Surveys
    This is obtained through analysis of existing and readily available data from different sources, in order to understand the poverty profile of a given area/sector, i.e. health, agriculture, education, industry, market, etc. These sources may include partial data such as existing ad hoc micro-surveys, PPAs, administrative data records, and Core Welfare Indicators Questionnaire (CWIQ)
  4. Social indicator surveys
    These are gathered and generated by sectoral surveys which are either generated by line ministries responsible for the sectors under question or other stakeholders within the sector.

8.2 Measurements of Poverty

It was pointed out that poverty is a complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon, as such it is very difficult to define and measure. Certain indicators have been used to explain the phenomenon of poverty i.e. income, education, lifestyles, accessibility to services etc. All these have been used as "proxy" indicators of poverty in various surveys. For example, since poverty is complex and difficult to measure, one may take school enrolment in village "X" as an indicator that shows whether poverty is increasing or declining. In its totality, poverty is both a complex issue as well as a multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional issue, which means it cannot be measured by one dimension. However, in general terms, poverty is defined as a situation where an individual is unable to attain a minimum standard of living. Poverty can also be assessed through the income poverty or human poverty assessment approach. The income poverty estimates look at income and expenditure data while the human poverty estimates take into account basic human needs and other narrative manifestations of poverty such as participation, empowerment, lifestyles etc.

In accessing poverty, it is important to determine the cut-off-points or poverty line, which provides a borderline that separates the poor and non-poor. The poverty line is determined by the following methods:

  1. Cost of Basic Need Approach (CBNA)
        This method determines basic consumption needs which are necessary for decent human survival. The calculations for the CBNA are normally anchored on nutritional requirements for good health.
  2. Consumer Price Index (CPI)
        This includes assessing the household food budget, consumption and minimum calorific values at 2,500 calories per person per day. The poverty line is computed against the ability of a household to purchase the required calories for household members. Households which cannot purchase the computed "food budget" are categorised as poor.

Although disputed, calculations by the Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre point out that the poverty line in Tanzania is approximately Tshillings 5,000/= per day, while the international poverty line is one US Dollar (equivalent to Tshillings 800/=) per day!!

There are two types of poverty:

bulletAbsolute poverty - where one lives below the poverty line
bulletRelative poverty - in cases where people are located above or on the borderline of the poverty line, but there is a variation in their location relative to each other. Some are located further above relative to others while others are nearer the borderline to poverty.

8.3 Indexing Poverty

There are various indices, which are used to determine poverty. The most commonly used poverty indices are the following:

  1. Headcount Index
    The headcount index shows the proportion of the population defined as poor. It provides information on the number of people (as a percentage of the total population) who live below the poverty line (e.g. 50% of Tanzanians live below the poverty line). The index has one limitation. It only provides information on the extent, and not depth (or severity) of poverty. There are other indices that address this question.
  2. Poverty Gap Index
    This index measures the depth of poverty. It shows the proportion which individuals fall below the poverty line. For example, of the 52 percent of the Tanzanians that are below the poverty line, 20 percent are at P1, 30 percent at P2 and 50 percent at P3 index. This information allows planners to determine the poverty gap, and therefore the effort required to alleviate poverty from P3 to P2, P2 to P1 and P1 to P0, P0 being the poverty borderline.
  3. Severity Index
    Severity index gives indications of the distribution of poverty. Individuals who are further away from the poverty line contribute less to the index.
  4. Human Development Index (HDI)
    This is developed by UNDP. It focuses on income per capita, life expectancy and education attainment. UNDP's HDI therefore provides data that goes beyond income poverty. It also takes into account human capabilities and quality of life.

8.4 Poverty Indicator

Poverty indicators include:

bulletPoverty lines - higher or lower poverty lines
bulletIncome indicators - income earning/expenditure opportunities of the poor and subsequent living standards.
bulletSocial indicators - access to quality levels of basic social services.
bulletChildren in Development (CID) - CID indicators capture children's health and nutritional status.
bulletWomen in Development (WID) - WID indicators show women's disadvantaged status in the society and their survival strategies.

8.5 Plenary Discussions

bulletIn the course of assessing poverty, one should take caution that income levels are not sufficient in themselves, but income distribution is also a critical indicator of poverty/poverty reduction.
bulletPoverty should be assessed and measured by clear measurable indicators which show the incidence of poverty in the population. The incidence of poverty should show the number of people who are poor and their characteristics. It should also take into account prevailing situations and material conditions such as the consumption index and minimal standards of living index.

8.6 Recommendations

bulletPoverty monitoring methodologies are crucial for CSOs to understand and to make use of them for more effective participation in monitoring PRSP activities.
bulletCSOs need increased knowledge and skills on poverty monitoring. Deliberate effort to enhance the capacities of CSOs to do these kind of activities more effectively should be made.

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