Vargas, Mireya (2017). 'Measurement Inequalities with Wellbeing and Missing Dimensions: Methodological Insights and Illustrations to the Case of Bankomunal in Haiti, Dominican Republic and and Venezuela.' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Cape Town 2017.


From over a decade, universities, international organisms, governments and civil society organisations have advanced in the knowledge and application of measurements that allow us to learn about poverty and the wellbeing of the many. Specifically, studies have been developed and applied these approaches of wellbeing to the definition of policies and programmes with the general population or with specific populations, such as women, children or workers. This is the case of the initiative of the United Kingdom in its government programme aimed at measuring National Wellbeing, the Gross National Happiness measurement in Bhutan, or the measurements taken by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), to name a few. The emphasis is placed on a multidimensional approach to wellbeing that considers more subjective aspects, and underscores the need to consider a more holistic vision of human development that addresses social inequities and creates collective and individual capacities.

The CAF – Development Bank of Latin America, in alliance with OPHI, have recently published a document about the definition OPHI has proposed regarding the “Missing Dimensions in the Measure of Poverty”. On the other hand, out of CAF’s and Fundefir’s initiative, a measure of the impact of their Bankomunales programmes in Haiti, Dominican Republic and Venezuela has been encouraged, with a view to determining how much this programme has contributed to bettering the wellbeing of the partners, specifically in domains such as personal wellbeing, the ability to go through life without feeling shame or humiliation, and empowerment and agency. The analysis reveals the importance of these domains for one’s own satisfaction with life and its potential, as well as to maintain and increase a certain degree of personal wellbeing among partners.  This empirical evidence highlights the need to move beyond the classical definition of wellbeing, and consider the absent domains that impact on conditions of poverty and the multiple deprivations that affect the specific populations in a particular way. Overcoming poverty implies opening up the spectrum of options to understand and develop and full life.

In this presentation I will show the results delivered by the study of partners of Bankomunales for the 2016-2017 period, and will analyse the importance of the measurements and applications of the absent domains in measures of poverty and wellbeing, as well as the definition of programmes that try to solve problems of inequity and social inclusion.


scroll to top