AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

TAG | poverty

Hi, I am Rick Davies, an Evaluation consultant, based in Cambridge, UK. The Basic Necessities Survey (BNS) is a method of measuring poverty that is:

  • Simple to design and implement. The results are easy to analyse and to communicate to others
  • Democratic in the way that it identifies what constitutes poverty and who is poor
  • Rights-based, in its emphasis on entitlement

The BNS builds on and adapts earlier methods that have been used to measure poverty by measuring deprivation and which emphasise the “consensual” definition of poverty. However, the BNS is innovative in the way in which (a) individual poverty scores and (b) a poverty line are generated from respondents’ survey responses.

The BNS examines two aspects of people’s lives: (a) their material conditions, (b) their perceptions of these material conditions. Both have consequences for the quality of people’s lives.

Basic necessities are democratically defined as those items listed in a “menu” that 50% or more of respondents agree “are basic necessities that everyone should be able to have and nobody should have to go without”.  Items are weighted for importance according to the percentage of respondents who say an item is a basic necessity (between 50% and 100%). Respondents’ poverty (BNS) scores are based on the sum of the weightings of the basic necessities they have, as a percentage of the total they could have if they had all basic necessities. Items for inclusion in a BNS menu are identified through prior stakeholder consultations and include things, activities and services that can be reliably observed.

The BNS has been widely used and adapted particularly by international conservation NGOs who want to monitor and evaluate the impact of their work. Most notably by the Wildlife Conservation Society and supported by USAID.

Possible concerns:

  • Do different sections of the community have different views about what things are basic necessities? For example, women may have different views to men? Surveys in the UK, Vietnam and South Africa show high levels of agreement across genders.
  • Do people’s views of what are basic necessities reflect their bounded realities? If they don’t know how others live, how can they have such expectations? In the UK and South Africa, the expectations of poorest respondents were not significantly different from those of the richer respondents
  • Do people limit their view of what are necessities when they can’t achieve them? In South Africa “…there is very little evidence of people reporting that they had chosen not to possess any of the socially perceived necessities”

Lessons Learned:

Hot Tip:

  • Where to go to first, to learn more: The Basic Necessities Survey webpage on MandE NEWS website provides detailed information on survey design and analyses, and extensive references to its use and related work.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

·

Hi all, I’m Julie Peachey, Director of Poverty Measurement at Innovations for Poverty Action where I oversee a widely-used tool called the Poverty Probability Index (PPI).  It’s no surprise to me that the first Sustainable Development Goal is “End Poverty in all its forms everywhere’’ as so much of our international development work is designed with this objective in mind.  But how does an organization – social enterprise, NGO, corporation, impact investor – understand and report its contribution to this goal?no poverty

The first two indicators (1.1.1 and 1.1.2) for measuring progress against targets for SDG1 are the proportion of the population living below the international extreme poverty line (currently $1.90/ per person per day in 2011 PPP dollars) and the national poverty line.  So, an organization providing affordable access to goods, services and livelihood opportunities for this population or including them in their value chain as producers and entrepreneurs can simply report the percentage of its customers or beneficiaries that are below these two poverty lines.  But wait….simply….you say?  Getting household-level information on poverty / consumption / income / wealth is notoriously hard in developing countries.

Hot Tip:

Use the PPI.  It is a statistically rigorous yet inexpensive and easy-to-administer poverty measurement tool. The PPI is country specific, derived from national surveys, and uses ten questions and an intuitive scoring system. The PPI measures the likelihood that the respondent’s household is living below the poverty line, and is calibrated to both national and international poverty lines. There are PPIs for 60 countries and it is available for free download at www.povertyindex.org.

Zambia 2015 PPI User Guide

 

The PPI provides a measure of poverty that is both objective and standard – not particular to an area or country or sector.  This means that organizations and investors can compare the inclusiveness of their projects and programs within and across countries, and across sectors.

The PPI can be useful in reporting against other SDGs as well, especially those that are focused on inclusive access to services and markets, as well as those that aim to reduce inequality and engender inclusive growth.   Understanding whether initiatives are reaching the poorest and most vulnerable is integral to our collective progress against these targets.

Rad Resources: 

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating International and Cross-Cultural (ICCE) TIG Week with our colleagues in the International and Cross-Cultural Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our ICCE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

·

This is Heather Esper, senior program manager, and Yaquta Fatehi, senior research associate, from the Performance Measurement Initiative at the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan. Our team specializes in performance measurement to improve organizations’ effectiveness, scalability, and sustainability and to create more value for their stakeholders in emerging economies.

Our contribution to social impact measurement (SIM) focuses on assessing poverty outcomes in a multi-dimensional manner. But what do we mean by multi-dimensional? For us, this refers to three things. It first means speaking to all local stakeholders when assessing change by a program or market-based approach in the community. This includes not only stakeholders that interact directly with the organization, such as customers or distributors from low-income households, but also those that do not engage with the venture  ?  like farmers who do not sell their product to the venture, or non-customers. Second, this requires moving beyond measuring only economic outcome indicators; it includes studying changes in capability and relationship well-being of local stakeholders. Capability refers to constructs such as the individual’s health, agency, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. Relationship well-being refers to changes in the individual’s role in the family and community and also in the quality of the local physical environment. Thirdly, multi-dimensional outcomes means assessing positive as well as negative changes on stakeholders and on the local physical and cultural environment.

We believe assessing multidimensional outcomes better informs internal decision-making. For example, we conducted an impact assessment with a last-mile distribution venture and focused on understanding the relationship between business and social outcomes. We found a relationship between self-efficacy and sales, and self-efficacy and turnover, meaning if the venture followed our recommendation to improve sellers’ self-efficacy through trainings, they would also likely see an increase in sales and retention.

Rad Resources:

  1. Webinar with the Grameen Foundation on the value of capturing multi-dimensional poverty outcomes
  2. Webinar with SolarAid on qualitative methods to capture multi-dimensional poverty outcomes
  3. Webinar with Danone Ecosystem Fund on quantitative methods to capture multi-dimensional poverty outcomes

Hot Tips:  Key survey development best practices:

  1. Start with existing questions developed and tested by other researchers when possible and modify as necessary with a pretest.
  2. Pretest using cognitive interviewing methodology to ensure a context-specific survey and informed consent. We tend to use a sample size of at least 12.
  3. For all relevant questions, test reliability and variability using the data gathered from the pilot. We tend to use a sample size of at least 25 to conduct analysis, such as Cronbach’s alpha of multi-item scale questions).

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Social Impact Measurement Week with our colleagues in the Social Impact Measurement Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our SIM TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

 

·

Archives

To top