Multi-dimensional approach to reducing poverty
Cedélia, 17 years, lives in Inhambane province, but sadly her 19 year old husband left to work in South Africa when she was pregnant with now 11 month year old Euclécio. She says, "My husband said he would take me to South Africa, then I got pregnant and he left without me."
Meanwhile, in Mabalene district in Gaza province, 71-year-old Florinda Chivambo and fellow pensioners are huddling under a tree against the drizzle. Florinda says, "I am here to collect a pension as I lost my vegetable garden; this is the only money I have to look after my two grandchildren."
"I am here to collect a pension as I lost my vegetable garden; this is the only money I have to look after my two grandchildren" - 71-year-old Florinda Chivambo.
And nearby in Chibuto town, Augustine Fernando Machalela, an 11-year-old Grade 6 student, whose parents both work as teachers, says, "Life was difficult before because we didn't have any clean water and we were sick often."
These three people all have something in common: they all live below the national poverty line, which is based on one's level of consumption. However, they experience poverty in very different ways.
With children in particular, viewing poverty solely on how much income his or her family has, or how much the family consumes, does not adequately convey how children actually experience poverty.
Chief of Social Policy, Planning, Information and Monitoring at UNICEF Mozambique, Andrea Rossi, says, "Some families may have very similar levels of per capita income but children in one family may be at a higher risk of experiencing malnutrition while children in another family might be more likely to be constantly sick or even lose their lives due to water-borne diseases caused by poor sanitation. Meanwhile children in another family may be at a higher risk of missing out on an education."
Income-poverty measures are a good indication of where the problem lies, but it alone does not give us a complete understanding of the main issues for children, and therefore may not lead to the most efficient and effective policy response, adds Andrea. UNICEF works on a multidimensional measure of poverty, which is crucial to developing the adequate policy response to help reduce poverty in the country.
In the first quarter of 2016 the government of Mozambique developed a new Five Year Plan called Plano Quinquenal do Governo (PQG). The PQG has a clear focus on human development and the social sectors, however in the original version the plan had no clear strategy on poverty reduction.
Key elements of the plan include the promotion of national unity, peace and security, infrastructure, natural resources, the environment and human development which encompasses education, employment and competitiveness.
Andrea Rossi explains the plan's central objective is to improve the quality of life of all Mozambicans.
"It is important that you have an indicator for poverty and for well-being. For UNICEF, the key components are the several dimensions that impact a child's life. Together with the Minister of Economy and Finance (MEF) we organized debates in the provinces about what multi-dimensional poverty is, how the concept would be defined in Mozambique, which components we should look at and what the differences are between provinces," he says.
The government also recently conducted a Household Budget Survey (IOF), which will provide much relevant data that can be used to measure poverty levels not only based on consumption, but on several other aspects.
Andrea says as a result of the continuous work with MEF, poverty indicators have been included in the operational documents of the Five Year Plan, while data from the recent IOF will be used to develop more nuanced measures of poverty that can lead to more appropriate policy interventions.
"The work on Public Finance for Children is a huge success we achieved in 2015. In consultation with the Minister of Economy and Finance and Civil Society, UNICEF also produced and launched its well-known Budget Briefs, which is something that we are very proud of," says Andrea.
"The work on Public Finance for Children is a huge success we achieved in 2015. In consultation with the Minister of Economy and Finance and Civil Society, UNICEF also produced and launched its well-known Budget Briefs, which is something that we are very proud of" - Chief of Social Policy, Planning, Information and Monitoring at UNICEF Mozambique, Andrea Rossi.
- In 2015 UNICEF supported the government to organize debates in provinces, which led to a focus on poverty, inequality and social disparities in the new Plano Quinquenal do Governo (PQG).
- UNICEF contributed to budget transparency and participation: an event was organized with civil society on "National Budget and Social Sectors" where the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) presented, for the first time other than in Parliament, the approved State Budget for 2016; and through UNICEF's well-recognized work on budget analysis, two Budget Memos and three Budget Briefs were produced and launched.