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Research Report

Assessing Household Poverty and Wellbeing: A Manual with Examples from Kutai Barat, Indonesia

Ade Cahyat
Christian Gönner
Michaela Haug
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2007
Pages: 118
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-12)

    The Indonesian Government applies a number of wellbeing and poverty models; for example, the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) measures poverty with a focus on consumption, while the National Family Planning Coordination Agency (BKKBN) focuses on family welfare. International agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are also concerned with human development, defined as longevity, knowledge and decent standard of living. Each of these concepts has its pros and cons. Seen from the viewpoint of a district government, such as the one in Kutai Barat, these models have a number of weaknesses:

    They do not describe specific local characteristics...

  2. (pp. 13-18)

    Before developing indicators, a monitoring team has to be formed. The monitoring team should consist of 4 to 7 people. The role of the monitoring team is to oversee all the activities of developing the monitoring system. The team members should fulfil one or more of the following criteria:

    Have a good understanding of local peoples’ livelihoods.

    Be experienced in surveys or indicator development.

    Work and think logically.

    The proposed indicators can be obtained through group discussions or interviews. These proposed indicators are used in the first trial survey to get a general picture of existing conditions.

    The results of...

  3. (pp. 19-24)

    The recruitment of village assessors is a subdistrict officer’s first in-field activity on completion of subdistrict officer training. It is each subdistrict officer’s responsibility to do so in preparation for village assessor training in every subdistrict.

    Recruitment must involve meeting candidates face to face in their villages. Therefore, subdistrict officers must make use of the transport funds provided and visit the villages.

    There are six steps to recruiting village assessors: (1) check material before departure to the field; (2) meet with village leaders, look for candidates; (3) meet with village assessor candidates; (4) explain how to prepare settlement sketches; (5)...

  4. (pp. 25-30)

    Respondents are those people interviewed, who provide information or data to the village assessor. There is only one kind of target respondent in this survey, household respondents. Due to limited funds and resources, the survey is based on sampling. Therefore, an unbiased selection of respondents is essential.

    A biased selection is one that leans toward a particular tendency either intentionally or unintentionally. Bias can occur, for example, if an assessor, by his or her own design or at the request of another person, selects only respondents from poor households in order for the village to secure more aid.

    The monitoring...

  5. (pp. 31-36)

    Interviewing is the most important step in monitoring as it is through interviews that data are generated. Interviewing is the responsibility of village assessors.

    Respondents are people interviewed or those providing answers. A respondent must meet the following criteria:

    1. A member of the selected household—not a visitor or a guest;

    2. An adult of at least 17 years of age, or married—children may not be respondents;

    3. Of sound mind (not mentally impaired), and able to hear and speak properly.

    Planning is necessary to ensure that all interviews with respondents are completed within allotted timeframes. Planning should determine who will...

  6. (pp. 37-50)

    Questionnaires are the forms that must be used and read out as the basis for the interviews.

    The information on a questionnaire begins with the household number in the top right corner on the front page (you can find an explanation of how to determine the household number in Module 3). Other information on the questionnaire includes: the respondent’s name, the name of the head of the household, the name of the village, the name of the subdistrict, the name of the assessor and the interview date. The respondent is the person providing answers to the questions on the questionnaire....

  7. (pp. 51-56)

    It is the subdistrict officer’s responsibility to inspect survey results. Inspections take place after village assessors have finished collecting data in their villages and have submitted all data (completed questionnaires, settlement sketch maps and Form As) to subdistrict officers.

    There are four steps that must be carried out when checking surveys results:

    Step 1: Inspect results of respondent selection.

    Step 2: Inspect completed questionnaires.

    Step 3: Pay village assessor’s fees and transport expenses.

    Step 4: Wrap and seal questionnaires.

    Use two things when making inspections of respondent selection results: (1) Settlement sketches, and (2) Respondent household selection forms (Form A)....

  8. (pp. 57-62)

    Once the monitoring team has checked and verified all the physical data on the questionnaires, that data is then entered into the SPSS computer program. Data entry is the first step in processing the data. In principle, other statistical programs could also be used, but we use SPSS here as an example. For practising, you can download the following files from

    Download 1: Household.sav

    Download 2: Householdindices.sav

    Download 3: Householdindicesfinal.sav

    All the hard work of the hundreds of village assessors and the monitoring team will be in vain if mistakes are made during the data entry stage. Errors at...

  9. (pp. 63-72)

    Poverty indices are calculated to:

    1. Determine poverty levels at household, village, subdistrict and district levels

    2. Diagnose regional problems

    3. Diagnose sectoral problems

    4. Help prepare poverty alleviation intervention strategies

    5. Help determine poverty relief programme targets more accurately.

    Although the indices are calculated at household level, they have to be aggregated at the village or subdistrict level as the survey does not cover all households of a given village.

    The example from Kutai Barat shows that, in some villages, there were blanks in context variables. In such a case, indices cannot be correctly calculated. If fewer than five households provide answers to the...

  10. (pp. 73-88)

    An essential part of monitoring is the presentation of indices. Inappropriate presentation makes it difficult for users to utilise data for both analysis and decision making. Principles of presenting poverty indices are to make them:

    1. Accessible, easy to look at and helpful in analyses;

    2. Suit and support monitoring objectives, helping to answer fundamental monitoring questions;

    3. As easy as possible to integrate with other data, providing more complete analyses.

    In this handbook, the example of Durian Village is used as a case study.

    When you do the real thing, the village code can be found on the formal list issued by...

  11. (pp. 89-90)

    Inspections are only necessary in villages with data irregularities, where one or more of the following applies:

    More than 20% of respondents have been changed, or there are errors in respondent numbering and selection

    The villages shows a drastically different profile to neighbouring villages

    Many of the answers are uniform

    Interview forms appear clean and neat

    There are many missing entries.

    Before leaving for the field, prepare all the data you feel to be necessary for the village.

    Form discussion groups with at least five people in each village, made up of village organisers and community members, including the assessor....

  12. (pp. 91-92)

    The detailed prescriptions given in this manual were specifically developed to address the needs and requirements in Kutai Barat, Indonesia. However, we hope that the manual can also be used as a practical example for developing local poverty and wellbeing monitoring systems elsewhere. Local governments interested in improving their poverty reduction programmes might also find the following CIFOR publication interesting:

    Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) 2007 Towards wellbeing in forest communities: A source book for local government. Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia.

    This publication, as well as many other reports about forests, poverty and decentralization can be...