UPDATE (2012): IFAD and partners are in the process of finalizing MPAT and improving and expanding the MPAT User’s Guide as well as the MPAT Excel Spreadsheet (which can be used to calculate the MPAT indicators). It is expected that the final version will be released to the public in early 2014.
CALL FOR CASE STUDIES (2012): As part of the finalization efforts, IFAD is interested in collecting additional case study write-ups which describe the ways in which MPAT has been and is being used in various countries. Some of these case studies will be included in the final MPAT User’s Guide and profiled on an expanded MPAT website (also to be launched in early 2014). Agencies, universities, research institutes and others interested in sharing their experience using MPAT (full or partial use at any scale for any application) should write a short case study using this template and email it to Sarah Hessel.
MPAT is a multi-purpose tool that can be used to assess and support rural poverty alleviation efforts in developing countries. MPAT takes a step back from assessment methods that are focused on economic- and consumption-oriented indicators and strives to provide an overview of fundamental and relatively universal dimensions of rural livelihoods and rural life, and thus of rural poverty. MPAT is a survey-based (household and village level) thematic indicator primarily designed to support monitoring and evaluation, targeting, and prioritization efforts at the local level. However, MPAT also has many other uses, such as: making in-country and cross-country comparisons; supporting project design; facilitating policy dialogue and national programme support; raising awareness among a variety of stakeholders; empowering beneficiaries; and providing for innumerable secondary data analysis with the survey datasets. MPAT allows project managers, government officials and others to determine which dimensions of rural livelihoods likely require support and, more generally, whether an enabling environment is in place to allow rural residents to pursue their livelihood goals.
MPAT is intended for use by all those concerned with rural poverty reduction, whether they are project management officers working with donor-supported and/or government-supported poverty reduction projects in rural areas, or governments, donors, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, practitioners or academics. MPAT is designed to be universal enough to be relevant to most rural contexts around the world, yet specific enough to provide project managers and others with a detailed overview of key dimensions relevant to rural poverty reduction efforts. MPAT provides an assessment, an overview, of 10 dimensions central to rural livelihoods (see Figure 1), highlighting where additional support or interventions are likely to be most needed (eg, see Figure 2). MPAT provides a means of highlighting sectors of interest; yet, MPAT itself only gives an overview of these sectors. With respect to the importance of the local context (cultural, historical, geographical, socio-political, etc.), MPAT surveys can be expanded to capture additional data of interest and the expert valuations and weightings (i.e., the Standardized MPAT) can be changed to better suit a given context by using the MPAT Excel Spreadsheet. Thus, MPAT is a standardized yet flexible tool that can be tailored to better fit any context.Figure 1: Organizational diagram of MPAT's components and subcomponents
History of the MPA project
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries. The Multidimensional Poverty Assessment (MPA) Project was a collaborative, international initiative led by IFAD to develop, test and pilot a new tool for local-level rural poverty assessment. The project was formulated in 2007 and initiated in 2008. It was primarily funded through a grant from the Initiative for Mainstreaming Innovation – financed by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) – and IFAD-supported projects and government agencies in China and India. The MPA Project was supported by a Sounding Board of experts from IFAD, other United Nations agencies, international and regional organizations, and universities around the world, with the majority of its members coming from the Asia region where the tool was developed (they are gratefully thanked in the Acknowledgements section of the MPAT Book).
The MPAT Household and MPAT Village surveys were tested and revised extensively in various parts of rural China and India in 2008 and 2009. Workshops (in Beijing, New Delhi and Rome) were held at key intervals to gather input, and regular feedback loops connected the MPA Sounding Board to key project activities from start-up to completion. In this way, expert valuations for the survey items and weightings for the subcomponents’ aggregation were arrived at largely through a participatory process with Sounding Board members and other stakeholders. A large-scale pilot of MPAT (version 6) was conducted in China and India in early 2009. The data were subjected to an independent analysis by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC), which provided recommendations for additional improvements to the MPAT framework and surveys, and which were in turn incorporated into the final tool. This analysis also statistically confirmed the suitability of using a thematic indicator, as opposed to a composite indicator, and verified the overall robustness of MPAT’s architecture (a link to the JRC report is available on the MPAT Resources page).
MPAT resources (2010)
The MPAT book provides an overview of the theoretical rationale for creating MPAT, a description of the MPA Project, and the details of the steps involved in MPAT’s development and testing are also included.
The MPAT User’s Guide, which is geared primarily to practitioners, provides all of the resources needed to implement MPAT. The guide includes: information on how to create a sampling frame; enumerator training materials; the MPAT Household and Village Surveys; notes and definitions for the survey items; step-by-step instructions for organizing, checking and coding the data; all of the valuations and weightings for the items and subcomponents; and other materials.
In addition, an MPAT Excel Spreadsheet allows users to enter the MPAT survey data and easily calculate the MPAT indicators (all of the valuations and formulas are presented in the MPAT User’s Guide as well).
UPDATE (2012): The MPAT User’s Guide and Excel Spreadsheet are currently being improved and expanded, please check back for an updated version.