The abbreviation MPAT means Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool, developed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which is a UN specialized agency dedicated in rural poverty reduction. I was very excited when my former program manager, Jamie Frederick in 2011 informed me one beautiful morning that we would be using the tool to assess the many aspects of poverty in Nyamaranya and Ngisiru sub-locations.

My excitement was triggered,  upon realizing  that the tool is standardized and yet flexible to fit most rural contexts and would support monitoring and evaluation by being implemented at project start-up (for a baseline assessment of poverty metrics, for a mid-term review and finally for a project completion). In addition, the tool adopts participatory approaches that I arguably consider to be the best option for attaining a thorough understanding of poverty characteristics in an area, including the principal underlying causes at multiple scales.

This year’s MPAT survey that our team has been conducting has a different objective: to determine what members of the community consider being an enabling environment that is conducive enough for them to pursue their daily needs and wants. Using the tool, we strive to capture those domains that are arguably fundamental to human well-being and, by extension, to poverty reduction. For example, food & nutrition security, domestic water supply, housing clothing & energy, healthcare, education, farm and non-farm assets, sanitation & hygiene, exposure & resilience to shocks and gender & social equality.

Information on the above components will be very helpful in forming an exit criterion for the western staff. Furthermore, it will enhance programs targeting and prioritization efforts at a local level, as far as our interventions are concerned. This will of course, create peace of mind to project managers on  whether an enabling environment  is in place to allow rural residents to pursue their livelihood goals in a sustainable way; while at the same time, allowing for the scalability of Nuru to vulnerable communities.

For us, coming together is a beginning. Keeping together progress. Working together success.