Partnering with UNICEF Benin for ARCH (Assurance pour le Renforcement du Capital Humain) performance indicators

As part of our ongoing mission to carry out a study for the identification of the micro, meso and macro level elements linking the Assurance pour le Renforcement du Capital Humain (ARCH) program (and it’s four constituting components: health insurance, professional training, microcredit, and pension) to its objectives, SPRI team members recently traveled to Benin to support the efforts of UNICEF Benin.

For this purpose, we are developing theories of change for the program, which must satisfy of specific conditions. Herein we identify performance indicators to assess the actual completion of all the conditions necessary to go from the program (and its four constituents) to the program’s objectives.
During this engagement, we presented our first draft of theories of change (both for the whole program and each of its constituents) and held brainstorming sessions with local practioners and key experts for each of the program’s constituents, in order to identify the parameters of success for the program. Establishing these conditions then also allowed us to also identify risks to the success of the program. Our first draft of the ToCs was discussed, improved and validated and we are now working on a first draft of the report to be delivered soon, which will then be supplemented with a comprehensive list of performance indicators.
Our deliverables will have two main objectives; they will help our clients to
(1) critically go through the decision process at the outset of the implementation of the program’s constituents; and
(2) seek financial support from donors and banks for the implementation and running of their program (our study being part of a series of studies aiming to show the commitment of the government in its endeavor).

The mission took place in the Infosec training centre of the government in Cotonou, which was chosen to host our meetings.

SPRI in virtual reality

During a half-day retreat in Brussels in October of 2017, the SPRI team immersed themselves in Virtual Reality. More than an entertaining and immersive team-building exercise, the experience inspired SPRI to explore opportunities for innovating on communication technologies to present complex research results. SPRI’s previous efforts in this lane are encapsulated by its publication of an interactive web-portal which allows visitors to customise their selection and presentation of various aspects of country-specific child poverty (SPRI N-MODA Portal). The analyses on the web-portal are available in various languages and allow visitors to download the tables and figures of child poverty analyses for use in their own reporting.

In the near future, SPRI will explore further possibilities to use Augmented Reality to make research results more easily accessible, more interactive, and more engaging to use. These steps for enhancing and innovating on effective communication of otherwise less intuitive analysis results are in line with SPRI’s endeavors for “Engaging theory and Evidence with Policy Practice”.

Working with the National Institute of Statistics in Angola

During missions in October and December, SPRI staff worked with specialists of the Angolan National Institute of Statistics (NIS) to estimate multidimensional Child Poverty in all its aspects using MODA (Multidimensional Overlapping Deprivation Analysis). During the first mission we discussed the multidimensional poverty concepts and decided on the indicators and thresholds to be used in the child poverty analysis in Angola. During the second mission, SPRI gave hands-on instructions on estimating multidimensional child poverty to the NIS-experts of Luanda. UNICEF, NIS and SPRI will continue their collaboration to publish reports on the deprivation of children in Angola in all its aspects. The research results should enable the government and the international community to get a better understanding of the characteristics of all aspect of child poverty in order to equip them better to fight child poverty and increase investment in children from early childhood to adolescence.


Pictured: The national statistical office of Angola.

New SPRI Affiliated Publication: Violence Against Children in the Asia Pacific Region

New SPRI affiliated publication in Violence Against Children by Victor Karunan on children in the Asia Pacific Region!

Violence Against Children adopts in its title the exhortation of Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, “Making Human Rights Real,” which also represents the leitmotif of the book. It examines the prevalence of violence against children in Africa, the Asia Pacific Region, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and in the United States, and explores major ways of its prevention. Making human rights real engenders the challenge of helping all children to be free from violence and to lead a life replete with genuine nurture and the elimination of all violence. Only in this manner will the goal of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development —target 16.2—be achieved and the child as a rights-bearing individual realized in her/his fullness.

The specially commissioned chapters that make up the volume have been written by renowned scholars, researchers and advocates. They coalesce to provide an overview of the challenges facing children exposed to violence worldwide, and they advance discussions of the measures which are available and necessary for the prevention of violence against children. The book is intended for policy-makers, researchers and students of the social sciences and human rights who are interested in ending all the widespread maltreatment of children in our societies and our time.

Child Poverty in Kenya – A Multidimensional Approach

It was a pleasure to support UNICEF Kenya and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in producing the CHILD POVERTY IN KENYA report, which will be published in December of this year.

It is the first of its kind in Kenya and is being launched at a crucial development juncture, just before the design and development of the Third Medium Term Plan (2018–2022) of Vision 2030 and following the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda. The child poverty report presents the findings of multidimensional child deprivation analysis based on the 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey. This is the first study of its kind to incorporate a qualitative research component. Breastfeeding mothers, parents, teachers, nurses, doctors, community health workers, and county sector heads in Turkana, Kakamega, and Kitui were interviewed during August 2016 to give a voice to the quantitative research findings.

Helping children avoid poverty and overcome its damaging effects will make a huge difference not only to their lives but also to the lives of their families, communities and ultimately their country. The evidence of child deprivation from this study provides a strong opportunity for concerted, comprehensive responses targeting not only social services but also interventions to address the plight of children unable to realize their rights and fulfill their basic needs.

In the context of SDGs, the study is also very timely to provide Kenya with critical baseline information for monitoring the SDGs 1 and 10. The design of the Kenya Medium Term Plan III and the next County Integrated Development Plans and other sectoral strategies will benefit greatly from the evidence and deep analysis of child poverty based on nonmonetary indicators presented in this report


SPRI at International Conferences

Members of the SPRI team recently presented research papers during the ISCI conference in Montreal (International Society for Child Indicators), the APPAM conference in Brussels (Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management) and the ISI World Statistics conference in Marrakech (International Statistical Society).

Future presentations are planned in Chicago (Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management) and Bonn (Institute of Labor Economics). Conferences represent an excellent opportunity for SPRI scholars to present their own work, but also to engage with new ideas and seek opportunities to collaborate with fellow researchers from around the globe. The conference sessions are also used to sharpen our own views and enlarge our perspective, as we leverage peer learning to improve our analytical capacity.

Links to the presentations and paper abstracts are found here and here.

SPRI Staff Back to School!

Methodologies are constantly being evolved and research innovations are becoming more and more accessible. Members of the SPRI team regularly return to universities to keep pace with and contribute to the field of current knowledge in multidimensional poverty research.

At the TIAS School for Business and Society of Tilburg University, SPRI staff members become even more proficient in their field by attending courses, seminars and workshops in advanced econometrics and research analytics. The classes are designed to be adaptable to individual research needs and are not only content rich and information dense, but progressive in nature. Each class thus builds on the knowledge and training from the previous classes.

Currently, SPRI is also exploring opportunities to cooperate with leading schools and institutes in the field of Social Policy in the UK, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany to organise PhD-Master Classes in social policy and poverty research.

Child Poverty Analysis – SPRI Training Sessions

SPRI not only engages in executing monetary and multidimensional child poverty analyses, our team also trains specialists from national and international statistical services, research institutes and ministries to develop and carry out their own studies.

These training sessions are rooted in a sense of mutual trust and learning. The participating specialists are familiarized with the conceptual framework underlying a Multidimensional Overlapping Poverty Analysis (MODA) and acquire skills in applying it along with other approaches to measuring poverty. The SPRI team gains a deeper understanding of what it means to apply the frameworks and methodologies in the context of the countries they are working in.

The training sessions are designed to be lively, informative and productive, with everyone engaged in applied research. Once the training sessions are completed, participants and SPRI specialists often establish professional relationships to communicate on research projects and new challenges in the field.

Explaining Children’s Life Outcomes: Affiliated Publication in Child Indicators Research

We are happy to announce the publication of one of our affiliated researcher’s paper in affiliation with Maastricht University – “Explaining Children’s Life Outcomes: Parental Socioeconomic Status, Intelligence and Neurocognitive Factors in a Dynamic Life Cycle Model” by Elise de Neubourg, Lex Borghans, Karien Coppens, Maria Jansen.

Click here to access the abstract and description of the publication and here to access the full PDF at the journal’s website.

Click here for more recent publications by SPRI affiliated researchers.

Congratulations, Elise!


Capacity Building Workshop for Measuring Child Poverty in Libya

In the week of May 9th, SPRI team members led by Dr. Chris de Neubourg conducted a capacity building workshop in Tunis together with partners from UNICEF to build the capacity of researchers and leading members of Libyan ministries and national office of statistics. The Libyan partners received conceptual and technical training on conducting a multidimensional poverty study using UNICEF’s Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) toolbox. The workshop also provided an opportunity for review and feedback on preliminary analysis results for the Libyan child poverty study, and on the analysis parameters and deprivation thresholds used. The child poverty study for children in Libya, led by the Ministry of Planning of Libya, will be the first of its kind and demonstrates the Libyan partners’ commitment to ensuring child well-being in the process of meeting its SDG targets by 2030.