Poverty and Social Impact Analysis Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF)

September 16, 2015


Supporting PSIA work and knowledge dissemination
  • The Multi-Donor Trust Fund is a six-year, $21.5 million initiative to encourage the effective use of poverty, social and distributional analysis to guide World Bank’s policy dialogue, and to strengthen client country capacity to use the results of this analysis to inform national stakeholders and identify mitigating policies when needed.
  • The MDTF has supported more than 240 grants in over 85 countries. Besides covering a number of traditional topics such as human development and economic management, MDTF-funded PSIAs expanded their focus to new areas like natural resource management, climate change, access to land, and cultural heritage, and demonstrated continued innovation in methods.

Overview of the PSIA Multi-Donor Trust Fund

Poverty and social impact analysis (PSIA) is an approach to evaluating the potential social impacts of reforms rather than a uniform product. The World Bank defines PSIA as the analysis of the social and distributional impact of policy reforms on the well-being of different stakeholder groups, with particular focus on the poor and the vulnerable.

PSIAs are backed by a large cross-section of donors whose financial support led to the establishment of the PSIA Multi-donor Trust Fund (MDTF) in 2010. Five donors—Norway, United Kingdom (DFID), Germany (GIZ), The Netherlands, and Switzerland (SDC)—have paid US$21.5 million in contributions over a period of 6 years (2010-2015) to the trust fund, its final size.

Key achievements and lessons learned

The MDTF has played an important role in raising awareness and deepening the understanding of PSIAs within the World Bank. An external mid-term evaluation showed several achievements of the MDTF, including continued innovation in topics and methods, an increasing number of PSIAs that managed to positively influence policy dialogue and design, more capacity-building and dissemination activities, and new in-country partnerships.

The mid-term evaluation also found that since 2010 the PSIA MDTF has increased the frequency of PSIAs worldwide and expanded to more sectorial areas.

Number of PSIA MDTF grants by country (as of December 31, 2014)


Innovation in topics and methods

Besides covering a number of traditional topics such as human development and economic management, MDTF-funded PSIAs expanded their focus to new areas and also demonstrated continued innovation in methods. Examples of new topics explored include forestry management in Nicaragua and Kazakhstan, access to land and rural land registration in the Philippines, climate change in Vietnam, increasing employment opportunities for youth and women in the Arab Republic of Egypt, and more.

A wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods have been applied while conducting PSIAs, for instance ethnographic methods and consultations to address the issue of land access by indigenous people in the Philippines, or the use of poverty maps linked to a market accessibility index to quantify potential improvements in market accessibility through expansion of roads and new bridges, etc. 

Enhancing knowledge and learning activities

PSIA gained more value and visibility thanks to the MDTF continued support to a growing number of knowledge-sharing activities that involve policymakers, academics, civil society representatives and development practitioners. In particular:

1) Five major international learning events: two in Washington DC (2011), “Institutions for Equity and Inclusion” (2013); and one in Warsaw, Poland “Tackling difficult issues in policy reform: Evidence from Europe and Central Asia” (March 2015). On July 21-24, 2015, the event “From Evidence to Policy – Innovations in shaping reforms in Africa” took place in Cape Town, South Africa. On June 1-3, 2016, the global conference "Prosperity, Equality, and Sustainability: Policy and Perspectives for a Better World" was held in New Delhi, India

2) Capacity-building activities including training for internal (WBG) and external audiences, workshops, conferences, and development of tools;

3) A PSIA Series of seminars and BBLs that highlight examples and best practices of PSIA.

4) A monthly newsletter, which includes news and updates on PSIA work, publications, events and projects. View the latest issue here. If you would like to subscribe to the PSIA newsletter please send an email to

Would you like to learn more about the PSIA MDTF? Contact:

Maria Beatriz Orlando, PSIA Multi-Donor Trust Fund Program Manager

or Simona Palummo, PSIA Communications Consultant