WHAT IS EPI?
The Empowered People Index (EPI) is a measure of ability of people in a society to determine their own future. In reality, this ability is a complex notion that is determined by a variety of factors. Consequently, the EPI is a composite index that considers factors that are grouped into 3 main parts:
Empowerment to Scan
Empowerment to Process
Empowerment to Act
Without access to information, it is impossible to determine your future. You are not truly making a choice if you are unaware of your options. In addition, is that access to information unbiased, unfiltered and exhaustive? Some examples of factors found in the component “SCAN” are:
- Access to the Internet, and the quality of that access.
- Access to Social Media
- Press Freedom
This encompasses the ability to “process” the information observed. Without education, enough nourishment, shelter and energy, it is impossible to properly process information. Some examples of factors found in “PROCESS” are:
- Primary School Enrollment Rates
- Food/ Hunger Statistics
- Energy/Electricity Access/Use
This concerns the ability to act on the information that has been processed. To purchase what you need to realise your goals, and to be considered for your chosen job without discrimination, for example. Some examples of factors found in “ACT” are:
- Ability to start a business
- Ability to start a non-governmental organisation (NGO)
- Freedom of association: the ability to associate freely with people to get something done
The result is a composite index, built specifically to focus our minds on how empowered people are to determine their own future.
The EPI measures the ability of a person to determine their own future using a conceptual framework that covers the ability of the individual to
- Observe their environment,
- To reflect on their observations and
- To act on their reflections.
We refer to this as Scan, Process, Act.
Technically, the EPI 2020 contains 42 indicators that are structured into the 3 categories: Scan, Process and Act. These 42 variables are sourced from existing indices and in some cases, these measures have been used for decades. They include measures for health, safety, education, technology, rights and more. And the sources range from large international institutions such as the United Nations, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Health Organisation and more.
The EPI combines these variables in a structured way to create an understanding about how empowered people are to determine their own future. Each variable is normalised to create an equivalent value between 0 and 1, where 0 represents no power and 1 represents full power.
These variables are weighted to produce a final score whereby the sum of all weighted variables, for any given country, also lies between 0 and 1 – and this is the final EPI score. The full list of variables is provided in this report and in more detail online.
The ability to determine one’s own future is a complex measure and it is important to continue to improve the methods by which it can be understood and improved.
Steps in creating the index (can be a visual / diagram/ flowchart)
- Identifying factors that contribute to empowerment
- Checking the reliability and methodology of sources
- Choosing the final variables
- Normalising the data
- Determining the weights
- Calculating the final scores
What EPI measures
The EPI report celebrates the countries that lead the world in creating an environment where ordinary people have power to determine their own future. And we hope that reformers, at all levels, continue to champion changes that lead to more empowerment of people within their own societies and across the world. Countries that have performed strongly have done so by doing well across 42 variables that measure the empowerment to observe, to process what we observe and then to take action as we choose.
The report also provides selected insights and reflections from the journey so far. Finally, the EPI 2020 also provides “guides for action” via the features of specific cases of best practices. These best practices are highlighted here and more information can be found out about them by researching further. We hope that you find the EPI 2020 to be illuminating and inspiring. And we hope that you and your organisation join us in converting positive conversations to positive actions that empower people.