SPRI Global was happy to partner with UNICEF Zimbabwe in carrying out a multidimensional poverty analysis for children based on the Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) methodology and using the Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS) 2014-2015. The precarious socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe’s first decade of the 2000s reached its peak in 2008, when the country almost collapsed. Much of the education and health infrastructure deteriorated, and infrastructure related to water, sanitation and transport was severely affected.
Children were the ones who inherited the worst of this period’s adverse consequences. In 2017, Zimbabwean children and their families faced multiple challenges due to the difficult macroeconomic environment and multiple humanitarian crises that included flooding, drought, and diarrhoeal disease outbreaks. The project also included capacity building, focused on training statisticians from the National Institute of Statistics in Zimbabwe (ZimStats) on how to use the MODA methodology to conduct multidimensional poverty analysis.
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.