Ministry of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms has launched the Multidimensional Poverty Index, a tool which looks at and defines poverty from different dimensions.
Previously, the country was using only the Monetary Index which was looking at the level of income to determine poverty.
Speaking during the launch in Lilongwe yesterday, the ministry’s Principal Secretary Winford Masanjala said the new index will look at the level of deprivation in a number of dimensions.
He said: “Poverty is a multidimensional deficiency condition where we have to look at what is an individual deprived of and at what level to plan on how to pull that person from that pool of deficiencies.”
National Planning Commission director Dr Thomas Munthali said the new index will give a clear guideline on the planning and implementation of the Malawi 2063 Agenda.
“You know, when planning we will be guided on which areas are deprived in education, the same in health, environment and employment and that will determine how to allocate resources to bring about equality,” he said.
The new index was produced by the National Statistical Office (NSO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.
On her part, NSO commissioner of statistics Mercy Kanyuka said the new index has four dimensions which are health and population, education, environment and work.
She said: “Under health and population we are looking at indicators such as sanitation, nutrition, drinking water and food security. Under education we have literacy and schooling and school attendance.
“Under environment dimension we have electricity, rubbish disposal, housing and asset ownership and lastly under work we look at unemployment, job diversity and child labour.” Kanyuka said the index can range from 0 when no person is deprived in any indicator to 1 when everyone is deprived in all indicators.