The next entry in the La Follette summer intern series comes from 2nd year MIPA student Karen Parkinson. Karen is interning for Fundación Ethos where she is assisting with the development of a more comprehensive method of measuring poverty (Ethos Index) in Latin America with the intention of improving development efforts there. Her comments and synopsis of the Ethos Index are below. Be sure to check it out. Pretty cool stuff.
Fundación Ethos is an independent think tank run out of Mexico City, Mexico. I´m spending my summer working in the International Poverty Observatory division (IPO), which focuses on analysis, research, and facilitating the discussion on poverty, with the aim of improving social policy. The IPO has spent the past three years developing a multidimensional poverty measurement called the Ethos Poverty Index, which was finalized and published this summer. The Ethos Poverty Index includes household poverty dimensions such as income, education, access to potable water and sanitation services, housing conditions, cooking fuel, and electricity. The Index also includes contextual poverty dimensions such as: public health, strength of institutions, economic indicators, stability of democracy, public safety, gender equality, and the environment. The Index stresses the importance of combining these contextual variables with traditional household poverty measurements, as they paint a more complete picture of poverty in Latin America, acknowledging the need to address more fundamental changes when developing poverty-reduction policy.
I worked extensively on the Index this summer assisting with the English translation and promotion. Given Fundación Ethos is an organization focused on informed public policy, significant work happens after publication. Currently, we´re promoting and working to get people to read the Index and incorporate it into their policy decisions. This involves sending the document to relevant organizations, getting as much media coverage as possible, and hosting launch events in different countries. We do a lot of talking about the utility and worth of the Index, as well as defending the methodology used. From a personal perspective, I love doing research, but I really love getting that research out into the world to be used in making well-informed policy, and learning how the process works is invaluable to me as a student.
I´ve included the link to the Fundación website, as well as the English translation of the Index. Check to see where your favorite Latin American country ranks!
Fundación Ethos Links