Insights from SPRI Global’s Recent Study in Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga. 

SPRI Global, in support of UNICEF Pacific Islands Regional Office, has taken significant strides to refine child poverty assessments in Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga. This initiative is aimed at enhancing the precision and relevance of child poverty estimates to better inform policies and programs that safeguard children from multifaceted vulnerabilities and adversities, thereby supporting their full potential.

The study leveraged the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) data collected in 2019-2020, employing the Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) methodology. This approach has been pivotal in providing a multidimensional view of child poverty, which is crucial for crafting targeted, effective interventions.

Workshop Engagements and Stakeholder Participation:

In June 2023, a key milestone was achieved through a participatory workshop that engaged local stakeholders from various social sectors. The workshop served dual purposes: it introduced the stakeholders to the MODA methodology and facilitated discussions that tailored the MODA parameters to the specific realities of Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga. Stakeholders worked together to define age groups, indicators, dimensions of deprivation, thresholds, and profiling variables that reflect the unique challenges and data limitations within each country.

Following the workshop, preliminary analyses were conducted and a draft of the results was shared with stakeholders for feedback. In February 2024, validation workshops were held in all three countries to further refine the findings and discuss potential policy implications. These sessions proved invaluable, providing a platform for a robust exchange of insights and experiences among government officials, non-government partners, and international agencies. In Samoa, the workshop highlighted by the “Multiple Overlapping Child Poverty Analysis” event saw active discussions on the implementation of MODA, as shared in a social media update by UNICEF.

In Fiji, a new phase was initiated with the introduction of the National Multi-Dimensional Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (N-MODA). This approach, tailored to Fiji’s cultural and social contexts, was discussed extensively during an inception workshop. Policymakers and partners gathered to delineate child poverty dimensions that are particularly pertinent to Fijian children, setting the stage for data-driven policy formulation.

Impact and Future Directions:

The outcomes of these collaborative efforts are expected to significantly influence the formulation of the new UNICEF Pacific Multi Country Programme (2023 – 2027). By providing a deeper understanding of the drivers and dimensions of child poverty, the study equips policymakers with the evidence needed to prioritize and address the needs of children across the Pacific Islands effectively.

SPRI Global is proud to have facilitated these critical discussions and analyses, contributing to a framework that promises to make a lasting impact on the lives of children in Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga. As we move forward, we remain committed to supporting our partners in their ongoing efforts to combat child poverty and ensure that no child is left behind in the Pacific’s path towards sustainable development.