According to World Bank data, Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world. When using the international threshold of 1.25$ per day, 74% of the children are living in monetary poor households. The main objective of this project consisted of conducting a child poverty analysis contextualized to the Burundi norms and standards in order to provide policy recommendations and to come up with baseline for the Sustainable Development Goals 1.1.2.

Arriving in Bujumbura, the SPRI Global team met with several stakeholders from ministries (education, nutrition, civil rights and information), UNICEF, WFP, and the University of Burundi. After receiving input from all the various agencies, we were able to better understand the local context and we agreed together as to which indicators and dimensions reflect child poverty in Burundi. A select group comprising of local statisticians and researchers was introduced to the MODA methodology and its application on Stata. At the end of the first training we produced the Multidimensional Child Poverty Rate in Burundi for the purpose of monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals 1.1.2. The aim is to reduce this figure by at least half by 2030. On the second mission, the same participants were further trained in calculating and interpreting monetary and non-monetary poverty analysis results. The mission ended with a presentation of the final results where all key stakeholders were invited to. Everyone was satisfied with the obtained outcomes and ministries were looking forward to collaborate together, applying a cross-sectorial approach.

SPRI Global researchers Lien Boon and Nesha Ramful with UNICEF Burundi staff

Rwanda differs starkly from Burundi; the civil war has left his imprint on its population, yet development has progressed at a faster pace. Our partners at UNICEF and the National Institute of Statistics in Rwanda (NISR) believe that investing in children’s well-being is a crucial to this ongoing progress. We collaborated with Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative  (OPHI) whose team are measuring and analyzing the adult poverty rate in Rwanda, while we are focusing on child poverty. We used the DHS (Demographic and Health Survey) 2014-2015 database for children under 5 years old and a national household dataset for children aged 15-17 years (EICV 2013-2014). In addition to a standard N-MODA analysis, we carried out a trend analysis, comparing the results from 2010 with results from 2014-2015. This is to show the growth Rwanda already made in the last years, given that it is one of the countries that made the most progress in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the main purpose of the project is to set a baseline for the future in context of the SDGs.

SPRI Global researchers Lien Boon and Nesha Ramful with UNICEF Rwanda staff

Similar to Burundi, the Sustainable Development Goals are considered very important to the national poverty reduction strategy of these countries. To invest in the most vulnerable children now and target several problems at the same time will help lower the multidimensional poverty rate by 2030. In January-February 2017, we followed up the inception mission by intensively training some statisticians of the National Institute of Statistics in Rwanda (NISR) over a period of 2 weeks. The training took place in Huye in the South of Rwanda. It was an instructive collaboration where everyone learned from each other.

Although both Burundi and Rwanda are geographically so close to each other, each country has its own distinct history and path forward. This underlines the importance of national studies (N-MODA). Child poverty needs to be contextualized to local settings in order to come up with a tailored and customized analysis.