5-11 January 2018 #891

Schooling and nutrition

Swarnim Waglé
The National Planning Commission (NPC), with the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), released Nepal’s first official national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) survey last month.

The index shows 28.6% of Nepalis are still multidimensionally poor – meaning that their lives are battered by several deprivations simultaneously. But it also shows that Nepal halved its official MPI between 2006 to 2014. This confirms that the pace of poverty reduction in Nepal, measured both on monetary and non-monetary terms, has been impressive.

But the span of human deprivation, especially concerning nutrition and schooling, poses a formidable policy challenge in specific geographical areas. The MPI, disaggregated by provinces, gives Nepal’s new beginning as a federal country an influential policy headstart.

OPHI Director Sabina Alkire said at the launch of the report: “The scale of national poverty reduction is both dramatic and encouraging … this Nepali achievement shows that change is not only possible but can also be accelerated.”

The Nepal MPI follows indicators of the Global MPI, having 3 dimensions and 10 indicators, such as malnutrition, low education or inadequate sanitation. The latest data adapts the Global MPI to national needs, for example in the case of Nepal to including roofing materials as one of the new indicators of poverty measurement.

The index exposes substantial variations in the rate of poverty across the newly formed seven provinces of Nepal. Provinces 6 and 2 have the highest rates of multidimensional poverty – about half the people are poor. Children in Nepal are disproportionately affected by multidimensional poverty.

As the new government takes up its responsibilities, the MPI can be used to shape budgets and multi-sectoral policies that will accelerate progress in the coming period.

*Swarnim Waglé is the vice-chair of the National Planning Commission. *

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'28.6%' , Editorial

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