Working with UNICEF to improve global measures of poverty

3 May 2017

From left: Dr Shailen Nandy, Cardiff University, Dr Diego Angemi, Chief, Social Policy and Advocacy at UNICEF Uganda, Dr Viliami Konifelenisi Fifita, Government Statistician, Kingdom of Tonga, Mr Vincent Ssennono, Principal Statistiian at UBOS, and Dr Sebnem Hawksworth-Eroglu, University of Bristol
From left: Dr Shailen Nandy, Cardiff University, Dr Diego Angemi, Chief, Social Policy and Advocacy at UNICEF Uganda, Dr Viliami Konifelenisi Fifita, Government Statistician, Kingdom of Tonga, Mr Vincent Ssennono, Principal Statistiian at UBOS, and Dr Sebnem Hawksworth-Eroglu, University of Bristol

Academics at Cardiff and Bristol universities are working with UNICEF to improve the way in which child poverty is conceptualised, defined, measured and assessed around the world.

This work is continuing in cooperation with national statistical offices in several countries in the South Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa, which are using national household surveys to collect data to improve measures and assessments of poverty.

In late April 2017, Dr Shailen Nandy of Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences, along with Dr Sebnem Hawksworth-Eroglu of Bristol University, and Dr Viliami Konifelenisi Fifita, Government Statistician for the Kingdom of Tonga and Chair of the Technical Committee for Pacific Headline Indicators for the Pacific Statistics Steering Committee (PSSC), ran a training workshop in quantitative methods for staff of the Ugandan Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and researchers at the Economic Policy Research Centre of Makerere University.

The workshop was hosted by Dr Diego Angemi,Chief, Social Policy and Advocacy of UNICEF-Uganda and colleagues. Following the integration of the Consensual Approach (Nandy and Main, 2015) in the Uganda National Household Survey 2016/17, which covers 17,000 households, UBOS has shown tremendous leadership and committed to broaden national poverty analysis by complementing traditional income poverty analysis techniques with basic necessities and deprivation analysis.

The approach has been adopted by several countries in the South Pacific to track progress towards the first Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of ending poverty in all its forms, everywhere, by 2030.

The workshop provided an opportunity for statisticians from Uganda and Tonga to exchange information and experiences – a successful example of South-South cooperation as a result of poverty research being carried out at Cardiff University.

Researchers at Cardiff and Bristol already have strong collaborative links as a result of an ongoing GW4 initiative. They are hoping to raise funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to analyse data collected in the national surveys, assist countries with their own analyses, and develop their research capacities to measure and monitor poverty more accurately.

Dr Shailen Nandy, who along with Dr Marco Pomati, was awarded a £197,000 grant by the GCRF in January 2017 to research malnutrition in west and central Africa notes: “This type of collaborative work, between researchers, international organisations like UNICEF, and national statistical offices, is badly needed and extremely important if we are to successfully monitor progress towards the first SDG.”

Team members at Cardiff and Bristol will contribute to UNICEF’s report on child poverty in Uganda in 2018.

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