Poverty Assessment and Analysis
In 2000, the U.S. Congress passed the Microenterprise for Self-Reliance and International Anti-Corruption Act, which mandated that half of all USAID microenterprise funds benefit the very poor, those households living in the bottom half below the nationally defined poverty line or those living on the equivalent of less than US$1/day purchasing power parity (PPP). To verify that USAID meets this target, subsequent legislation has required that the USAID Microenterprise Development office (MD) develop and certify low-cost tools for assessing the poverty status of microenterprise clients, and to require its microenterprise implementing partners to use those tools to measure and report the share of their clients who are very poor. For more information on the tools, please visit www.povertytools.org. To view reports on USAID’s progress toward the Congressionally mandated funding targets as well as the results of USAID assistance to the microenterprise sector, please visit www.mrreporting.org.
The integration of the Poverty Analysis and Social Safety Nets team into USAID/MD in 2007 is providing an opportunity to test assumptions about the objectives and strategies of microenterprise assistance programs, and their impact on poverty reduction. MD investments in this area will support the generation and sharing of knowledge relating to the nature, extent, and causes of poverty; the economic, social, and political trends and forces affecting changes in poverty over time in particular countries and circumstances; the relationships between poverty, poverty reduction and microenterprise development; and, especially, the opportunities for helping countries reduce poverty more quickly and sustainably.