Training in Swaziland: The Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT)

By Tiffany Minjauw

The Smallholder Market-led Project (SMLP) in the Kingdom of Swaziland is a six-year project whose development objective is to enhance food and nutrition security and incomes among smallholder producer families through diversified agricultural production and market linkages. 

On the 8th of January, SMLP held a training in Manzini to kick start its baseline survey through the Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT). MPAT is a monitoring and evaluation tool that uses surveys to assist the design, targeting, and prioritisation efforts of a project at a local level.

To effectively address rural poverty, it is crucial to understand the underlying causes and the constraints before appropriate interventions can be selected and administered. The priority is to help to create an enabling environment within which people can build the type of life that they choose. IFAD poverty-alleviation initiatives seeking to foster an enabling environment where upward mobility is possible, benefit greatly from measurement tools such as MPAT which provide an overview of the key sectors involved.

Instead of defining and measuring the quality of life that the rural poor should obtain, MPAT assesses the overall environment within which people live, in order to determine whether it, and their current state of human well-being (a combination of all dimensions of livelihoods), are sufficient to allow them to seek the quality of life that they desire.

Obtaining an overview of rural livelihoods in IFAD project implementation areas will assist project managerial, technical and M&E staff to assess the primary contraints that beneficiaries face. With this notion in mind, MPAT measures people's capacity by identifying indicators of the domains essential to an enabling environment within which people are sufficiently free from immediate needs, and thus in a position to pursue their higher needs and, ultimately, their goals. 

How does MPAT work?

MPAT is a free, open access tool that can be found at Users can add tailored questions to the core MPAT questionnaire if they so wish, allowing MPAT to be both applicable globally (comparable across countries and continents) and locally - adapted to a particular country, project, and context. 

The questionnaire has been programmed and digitized (on the World Bank Survey Solutions), so that users have the option to implement MPAT on paper and/or on tablets or phones. 

MPAT within SMLP 

SMLP has opted to conduct MPAT on tablets, as the digitalized version allows for real time data quality control and for the location of all interviewed households to be automatically geotagged by the survey software. 

From the 8th-12th of January, a team of 8 enumerators and 2 supervisors were trained by an IFAD MPAT consultant. The teams then had the opportunity to pilot the survey in order to clarify any issues and test the tablets. SMLP's M&E officer was trained by the MPAT consultant on how to carry out remote data quality checking. 

©T. Minjauw - Enumerators are taught on how to ask MPAT questions, and how to record answers in particular scenarios

©T. Minjauw - An MPAT enumerator pilots the household survey in Mafutseni, central Swaziland 

The MPAT data for SMLP will be collected over a period of approximately 30 days and the analysis is expected to be ready by March 2018. The data collected will provide a comprehensive overview of rural poverty in the country across 37 chiefdoms, and will assist the M&E officer in tracking changes over the course the project duration.

©T. Minjauw - Household members answer the MPAT questions outside their homes, or while they are carrying out their usual activities, so as to cause minimal disturbances to their day.  

©T. Minjauw

©T. Minjauw