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Published Date: Oct 16, 2012


World Food Programme (WFP) and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) are using a specialized analysis technique called ‘Small Area Estimates’ to map poverty and to assess food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition in the country. This was disclosed at a special lecture organized to mark ‘world poverty day.’

The special lecture “Measuring Poverty in Small Areas: How Low Can You Go?” by Professor Stephen Haslett from Massey University, New Zealand was organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute here on Monday. Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, Senior Research Associate, SDPI moderated the proceedings.

In his lecture, Professor Stephen Haslett highlighted the role of Small Area Estimation (SAE) in understanding the dimensions and finer details of poverty.  He said, large scale national surveys are usually unable to provide detailed information at local level, which necessities the use of “Small Area Estimate”, a technique that provide reliable estimates from lower geographic level by using statistical modeling.

Briefing participants he said, SAE extracts detailed information out of existing data mostly by using both survey and census data and “borrow strength” from the relationship between observations via a statistical model. He said, it is often possible to produce and predict accurate estimates even where there is no survey data in the area.

“However, accuracy of estimates dependents upon accurate statistical model, qualified statisticians, and availability of census and survey data with the same ‘other variables’ that run at concurrent time,” he added.

Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, the Executive Director of SDPI chaired the proceedings and argued that the techniques like ”Small Area Estimate” are useful in refining policies and providing valuable credible insight for policy interventions in the absence of official poverty estimates.

Giving special remarks, Krishna Pahari, from World Food Programme (WFP) said that WFP is using Small Area Estimate technique for a long time. He said, SAE enhanced their practical decision making in identifying, targeting and reaching out to the most vulnerable communities across marginalized regions of the world. He also called for enhancing and building the capacity of  local professionals for carrying out such complex simulations.