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Meeting Needs Index – guidance note

17 November 2021 — By Oliver Westerman and Alessia Volpe

The Meeting Needs Index, or MNI, is a proxy measure of household welfare, providing a single-figure composite indication of how able a household is to meet multiple basic needs. It was first developed and utilized by Mercy Corps in the Gaza Strip, then at larger scale by the Gaza Protection Consortium, as an outcome indicator in multi-purpose cash assistance (MPCA) programming.

The MNI incorporates multiple, context-specific basic needs, and uses a balanced weighted average approach, with responses to each need given along a scaled range. By summing the scores and dividing the sum by the maximum possible score (50 if all 10 sectors are factored in the analysis), the MNI will generate an overall household score from 0.0 – 1.0, where 0 means they are fully unable to meet any need, and 1 means they are fully able to meet all needs. In addition to use as a household-level multi-sectoral outcome indicator in MPCA programming, the MNI can also be used as part of response analysis (in area-based needs assessments) and as part of minimum expenditure basket construction or revision. As each need is recorded individually, changes in household ability to meet each separate need can be analyzed individually, highlighting gaps in access to basic goods and services.