Poverty and Vulnerability Assessment Tool (PVAT) 

ICIMOD has been building a platform to identify, understand, and monitor mountain poverty and vulnerability in the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH). In an attempt to better understand the specificities of mountain poverty and vulnerability, the Poverty and Vulnerability Assessment Tool (PVAT) was developed to capture the micro-level perspective of mountain peoples’ experiences with poverty and vulnerability and to monitor poverty and vulnerability trends on the ground using current data.
The extensive PVAT assessment intends to influence the policy making process through the collection of representative and quantitative data to verify and substantiate earlier macro-level qualitative findings. Furthermore, the PVAT will be utilized to build an extensive mountain-specific database. The generation of primary data will help fill in gaps and gather information on a number of mountain-specific indicators that hold institutional relevance and are often missing from available macro-level data sets, hence, providing a one-of-a-kind monitoring system to capture evolving socioeconomic realities on the ground. 
The PVAT examines: 
  • dimensions and causes of poverty and vulnerability
  • measures taken to adapt to climate change; 
  • nature of livelihoods and assets; 
  • connectivity between different sets of livelihoods; 
  • role of markets for goods and services, including agricultural commodities, and labour; and
  • production support, including credit, information, food, and other necessary consumables
  • from the viewpoint of poor and vulnerable mountain communities. 
The assessment was based on a standardized questionnaire that has been developed to assess, describe, and analyse the situation of poor and vulnerable people in the HKH region. This will lead to an enhanced understanding of multiple aspects of livelihood assets, structures, and the processes that underpin such assets. It will also help determine levels of access, terms of exchange, and returns  from livelihood assets as well as livelihood strategies and their outcomes for the poor.
The findings have been disaggregated by different geographic and demographic segments reflecting different ecological zones and different socioeconomic groups who may have varied needs and constraints, including women and poor and vulnerable groups. This approach will encourage study teams to explore key issues that emerge within the mountain system by social group, culture, occupation, or other dimensions of difference which are of local importance.
The first poverty and vulnerability assessment was carried out in nine districts of Nepal from the beginning of April 2011 until the middle of May 2011. It covered 3,437 households and is representative on a district level. The aim was to monitor areas where communities are considered highly vulnerable; thus, the nine districts were selected based on the occurrence of natural disasters and hazards as well as small area estimates of poverty and nutrition provided by the National Planning Commission of the Government of Nepal and the World Food Programme. The households were selected using multistage random sampling.

Geographical Coverage

Nine districts across Nepal

Bajhang, Gorkha, Humla, Jajarkot, Kailali, Sankhuwasabha, Saptari, Sindhupalchok, and Terhathum.