DAI’s Shannon Sarbo Presents Poverty Assessment Tool Case Studies

June 20, 2012

DAI Development Specialist Shannon Sarbo recently presented on poverty assessments at Abt Associates’ annual Chiefs of Party Conference. The conference brought together more than 170 long-term field staff from Abt’s global portfolio to share lessons learned on issues critical to the development community, including effective change management, high-impact presentations, and improving consulting skills for better outcomes. Shannon spoke about DAI’s experience with the Poverty Assessment Tool (PAT) on U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) projects in Haiti, Timor-Leste, and Cambodia, sharing lessons learned and advice for leveraging the tool for greater impact.

 The PAT is a USAID-certified household level assessment tool designed to measure the rate of extreme poverty of a group of respondents. PATs are developed from nationally representative data, so they are country-specific. Each tool is designed to be administered in 20 minutes or less, and produces data that can be easily used by partner organizations to determine the percentage of clients or beneficiaries that fall into different poverty categories. There are currently 38 countries with certified PATs. Implementing the PAT and reporting the results on an annual basis is Congressionally mandated for all USAID implementing partners supporting microenterprise projects. Since 2007, DAI has implemented the PAT eight times—once in Malawi, Mexico and Timor-Leste, twice in Haiti, and three times in Cambodia.

“One of the most exciting things about the workshop was the diversity of the chiefs of party, which is a role traditionally dominated by expats,” Shannon said. “Every participant in my workshop was a host country national, leading and managing projects in the countries they represent. It was a truly exciting prospect to imagine an industry lead by members of the countries where we work.”

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