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PAT Help Desk

Help Desk support is available USAID implementing partners and all other users. Please contact us with any questions on PATs, implementation, poverty assessment, or reporting requirements.

Email: helpdesk@povertytools.org

Phone: +1 202 670 PATS (7287)



USAID Poverty Assessment Tools (PATs) are free, easy to use tools for assessing poverty levels of any group of people. Development practitioners use PATs to assess their success at reaching out to poor and very poor people, to compare poverty levels of those who are engaged in different practice areas, or track changes in poverty level over time. Each PAT survey consists of 10-25 questions. Results can be analyzed in our custom data entry templates or within your own analysis software.

This site is intended to inform and help organizations (in any development sector) as they apply the Poverty Assessment Tools. All USAID-certified poverty asessment tools and accompanying support materials (implementation manual, country user guides, online on-demand training and videos) are freely available as is the PAT Help Desk (helpdesk@povertytools.org).

Quantifying the Very Poor

Microenterprise development programs have been among the most promising donor-sponsored programs for improving the lives of poor people. In 2000, the U.S. Congress passed the Microenterprise for Self-Reliance and International Anti-Corruption Act, which mandated that half of all USAID microenterprise funds benefit the very poor. To verify that USAID meets this target, subsequent legislation requires USAID to develop and certify low-cost tools for assessing the poverty status of microenterprise beneficiaries*, and to require its microenterprise implementing partners to use those tools to measure and report the share of their beneficiaries who are very poor. Each USAID-developed Poverty Assessment Tool (PAT) consists of a short, country-specific household survey—administered in twenty minutes or less—and a data entry template. Using such a tool, an implementing partner can gain an accurate estimate of the share of its beneficiaries who are very poor.

In all countries with a USAID-certified Poverty Assessment Tool, USAID’s microenterprise implementing partners** must use their country-specific tool to measure the share of their beneficiaries who are very poor, and must report the results to USAID through the Microenterprise Results Reporting (MRR) system.

*'Beneficiaries' include the employees of clients, so Enterprise Development/BDS programs should include the employees of their clients in their sampling plan.

** With certain exceptions (discussed in the FAQs), this requirement applies to all implementing partners that spent at least $100,000 in USAID funding during the current fiscal year to support microenterprise development activities.


The information provided on this web site is not official U.S. government information and does not
represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.