Multidimensional Child Poverty Study

In March 2017, SPRI Global initiated a multidimensional child poverty study in Ethiopia. Supported by UNICEF Ethiopia, the SPRI Global team also trained Central Statistical Agency (CSA) of Ethiopia, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and the National Planning Commission in conducting a multidimensional child poverty study using UNICEF’s Multidimensional Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) methodology. In addition, discussions were held regarding suitable parameters that would best grasp child poverty in Ethiopia across different age groups.

Understanding child poverty and deprivation is key to develop policies that ensure children’s proper development and wellbeing. Analyses often focus solely on monetary well-being, utilizing income or expenditure measures to assess the poverty status of members of a given household. While financial constraints are one of the most important determinants of child deprivation, not all monetary poor children are deprived nor are all deprived children monetary poor.

Access to income at the household level may not directly translate into improvements in its members’ wellbeing, especially children, not only because they are not the decision-makers in households (they are not sovereign consumers), but also because their needs are specific and they are not necessarily fulfilled by higher household incomes.

In order to complement traditional income-based measures of poverty with multidimensional deprivation analysis and to generate quality evidence on child poverty and disparities, UNICEF developed MODA. MODA adopts a holistic definition of child wellbeing, concentrating on the access of children to various goods and services that are crucial for their survival and development. It recognizes that a child’s experience of deprivations is multi-faceted and interrelated, and that such multiple and overlapping deprivations are more likely to occur, and with greater adverse effects, in socio-economically disadvantaged groups.

The study is one of the few that integrates all three measurements of child poverty; multidimensional, monetary, and subjective well-being. Data from the Demographic and Health Survey (2016) and Household Consumption Expenditure/Welfare Monitoring Survey (2016) is utilized to conduct the analysis part of the study. The results of the Ethiopia Child Poverty Report will inform the decision-making on setting the baseline for the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1.2. – halving poverty among children in all dimensions by 2030.

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