RFS projects utilise the Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT) to measure human well-being and household resilience


The Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT) provides RFS project teams with a more holistic understanding of human well-being within project communities, informing project design, implementing and tracking of progress.

The RFS programme relies on a diverse network of partners to implement all 12 country projects. Each partner offers a wide range of expertise, approaches, and tools to assist each country project in implementing activities and achieving target impacts on environmental resilience and food security. One such tool for measuring progress at the household level is the Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT), which was developed by an international initiative led by RFS Implementing Agency, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). 

The purpose of the MPAT is to provide a clearer understanding of rural poverty at the household level and to develop a strong evidence base for decision-making at all levels of governance. The MPAT consists of 143 questions that cover a range of focus areas, including gender, social equality, education, housing, sanitation, health, and farm and non-farm assets. After data is collected from households within the project sites, the MPAT produces summary scores for each focus area, ranging from low to high, that are comparable across communities, projects, and countries.  


The MPAT consists of 143 questions across 11 survey modules to assess human well-being.
The MPAT consists of 143 questions across 11 survey modules to assess human well-being.

In Kenya, the RFS country project team carried out a socioeconomic baseline household survey using MPAT in over 1,000 households, with approximately 30 additional questions on soil and water conservation practices. Key findings of the survey include:

  • Female-headed households (FHH) on average have a greater reliance on farming as their primary livelihood than male-headed households (MHH) (86% vs 65%).
  • Fewer FHH than MHH believe they could acquire a loan from a bank (46% vs 69%).
  • More FHH than MHH indicated they would not have the resources or ability to recover from a negative event (10% vs 3%) or rebuild their houses if destroyed in a disaster (32% vs 16%). 

The RFS eSwatini project also conducted a baseline survey in over 980 households. Key findings of their survey include: 

  • 72% of households are familiar with the word “climate change’.
  • The most common source of water in the dry season is boreholes (34%) and, in the rainy season, rivers (33%). 63% households do not treat their water.
  • 87% of interviewed households have access to land, usually through common law tenure (89%).
  • The main sources of income for households are casual labour (26%), social welfare (22%), formal labour (19%) and small business (16%). 

The implementation of these surveys in both country projects have since been used to inform project design, implementation and serve as a comparable data source for future monitoring. The MPAT data provides RFS project teams with a greater understanding of household perceptions and needs in project sites, allowing them to design project activities to address those needs and improve community well-being. The MPAT data also allows the RFS Kenya and eSwatini projects to more accurately track progress against all 11 MPAT focus areas throughout the project lifecycle and adapt activities as the project progresses. 

 For additional information about MPAT, download the MPAT Brief Note or the MPAT User’s Guide.  


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