Beyond Data: A Panorama of CSO Experiences with PRSP and HIPC Monitoring

This paper examines civil society organizations’ (CSOs) experiences monitoring Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers and Highly Indebted Poor Country expenditures in several countries, including Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Uganda, and Zambia. It provides detailed descriptions of CSOs monitoring structures and evaluates the ability of CSOs to monitor effectively. The study concludes that limited access to data, a lack of skilled human resources, and a lack of political will constitute major challenges to the deepening and expanding of CSOs monitoring activities. It also argues that CSOs monitoring is valuable for reasons beyond its effects on fund management, including its contributions to community empowerment and the decentralization of power.

Multidimensional Poverty Index

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) utilizes internationally comparable household survey data to measure deprivations in health and education in addition to living standards. It not only measures the number of people who are poor but also the depth and composition of human poverty. For advocates seeking to use budgets as an instrument to make investments in human development and realize the economic and social human rights of poor people, the MPI offers a new tool to identify those most in need, understand the multifaceted nature of some of the deprivations they face, and track the impacts of pro-poor investments.

Paying the Price: Why Rich Countries must Invest Now in a War on Poverty

This report investigates current aid contributions to developing countries. Oxfam argues that without sufficient finance from rich countries — only 0.7 percent of their national income — developing countries will not be able to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. It also concludes that increases in aid must be accompanied by improvements in the delivery of aid and reductions in the conditionality measures imposed by donors. Poor-country governments must also improve their performance and accountability, notwithstanding recent improvements. On behalf of the ‘Global Call for Action Against Poverty’ coalition, Oxfam offers detailed recommendations to donor members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, the World Bank and the IMF, and developing-country governments.

Poverty Alleviation in Rural Namibia through Improved Access to Financial Services

With data from the FinScope survey of 2003 and the Namibia Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2003/2004 NEPRU elaborated this report to determine whether improved access to financial services could contribute to poverty alleviation strategies’ in rural Namibia. The authors argue that there is either a negative or a nonexistent relationship between improved access to financial services and household income and that there is either a negative or nonexistent relationship between improved access to financial services and a food consumption ratio. Through statistical analysis, the report concludes that while access to financial services is associated with higher levels of income and that lower levels of income are associated with a dearth of access to financial services, access to those services may not be itself sufficient to alleviate poverty.

Aid, Budgets, and Accountability

This workshop summary reviews current debates on aid modalities and Public Financial Management (PFM) reform efforts. It also examines the role of donors in promoting more robust systems and processes, which could allow for channelling increasing aid resources through national budgets and strengthen domestic accountability mechanisms. The paper mainly draws from sub-Saharan African cases and examples. In its final chapter the author offers suggestions for future applied research.