Democratic Republic of the Congo

Multidimensional Child Poverty Study

SPRI Global is supporting UNICEF in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with a study on multidimensional child poverty using updated Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) data of 2017-2018. This study follows up on a 2016 study on multidimensional child poverty in the DRC conducted by members of SPRI Global in support of UNICEF DRC.

The objective of the study is to provide governmental and development partners in the DRC with descriptive and analytical information on the extent and dynamics of multidimensional child poverty. This exercise will contribute to the design of policies, programs and national strategies aiming to reduce poverty and promote the well-being of children, especially of the poorest and most disadvantaged children. The project will also include a capacity building and training component for members of the National Institute of Statistics as well as other national stakeholders.

The DRC is the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa and is one of the poorest countries in the world. The coutnry has been weakened by many years of civil war which exacerbate an already precarious socio-economic situation. In 2018, the country’s human development index (HDI) was ranked 176th out of 189 (UNDP, 2018), and 72% of the population lived on less than $ 1.9 a day, especially in the North West regions and Kasaï (The World Bank, 2020). This widespread poverty has a direct impact on children, who represent 56% of the population (UNICEF, 2018b). On average, poor households have twice as many children as non-poor households (The World Bank, 2016).

In addition to monetary poverty, children face many deprivations, particularly in the health, nutrition, education, protection, and water, sanitation and hygiene sectors. For example, according to MICS 2017-2018 data, only 35% of children aged 12-23 months have received all the vaccinations recommended by the national vaccination calendar; 41.8% of children under 5 are stunted, including 20.8% in severe form; almost 22% of children of primary school age do not attend primary or secondary school. In addition, these figures vary according to gender, living environment, and household poverty status. Violence is also an aggravating factor of children’s vulnerability, and threatens the realization of their rights. In 2018, following violent conflicts in the Kasai region and in the provinces of Ituri, Tanganyika, South Kivu and Mai-Ndombe, 7.8 million children were in need of humanitarian aid in the country (UNICEF, 2018a).

The 2016 analysis of multiple deprivations of children in the DRC according to the N-MODA toolbox shows that roughly 80% of children in the DRC suffer from at least two deprivations. Only 5% of children under the age of 15 experience no deprivation. This rate drops to 3% for those aged 15 to 17 (UNICEF, 2016). Today, new data is available – the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey of 2017-2018. These data will be used to assess and update the multidimensional child poverty figures in the DRC. In the context of monitoring and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this analysis of child poverty will make it possible to monitor national indicators of child poverty, while supporting the prioritization of public expenditure in favor of children.

Like the first analysis conducted in 2016, the MODA methodology will be used for this new analysis of children’s multiple and overlapping deprivations. The MODA approach will be contextualized through an active participation of the national partners for the selection of the parameters of the analysis, i.e. indicators, dimensions and deprivation thresholds, profiling variables and age groups.

Components of the study will include:

  • Analysis of multidimensional child poverty and deprivation;
  • Measurement of the multidimensional child poverty for monitoring of SDG1 ,target 1.2;
  • Calculation of the level of deprivation by social sector and the overlap between dimensional deprivations
    Identification of the poorest children and their characteristics;
  • Proposal of strategic and operational axes for optimal consideration of children’s rights;
  • Training of local partners in the concepts of child poverty and the practical application of MODA, using Stata, for the production of statistics on multidimensional child poverty;
  • Analysis of budgets for key sectors related to children in the past 5 years and link it to the trend and levels of child poverty. The analysis will also examine the effectiveness of public spending and allocations against the goal of reducing child poverty.



de Neubourg, C., Chai, J., de Milliano, M., & Plavgo, I. (2013). Cross-Country MODA Study: Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA). Technical Note. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Working Papers 2012-05.

de Neubourg, C., de Milliano, M., & Plavgo, I. (2014). Lost (in) Dimensions: Consolidating progress in multidimensional poverty research. Innocenti Working Paper, No. 2014-04.

La Banque Mondiale. (2016). République démocratique du Congo RDC-Évaluation de la pauvreté. Retrieved from

La Banque Mondiale. (2020). République démocratique du Congo – Vue d’ensemble. Retrieved May 14, 2020, from

Open Working Group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals. (2015). Open Working Group proposal for Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from United Nations Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform:

UNDP. (2018). Table 1. Human development index and its components.

UNICEF. (2016). Analyse des privations multiples des enfants en Republique Democratique du Congo selon le modèle N-MODA.

UNICEF. (2018a). 2018 Annual report. Retrieved from WCARO Annual Report 2019 ENG.pdf

UNICEF. (2018b). UNICEF RDC en 2018.

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