Bangladesh, Brazil

Graduation Strategy for the Poor out of Poverty: Protection and Promotion

photo credit: Gates Foundation
photo credit: Gates Foundation

Graduation strategy for the poor to get out of poverty is one of the major concerns for the policy makers. In particular, it is crucial for them to clearly explain it when it comes to implementing social assistance policies. Tax payers are commonly aware that cash transfer programmes might discourage the recipients to work; and that is the same worry for the development partners especially donors too.

Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) released a series of interviews with policymakers last week. In the interviews, 6 policymakers argue what graduation strategies should be for the poor to realise graduation.

In particular, I like the idea that social protection programmes together with vocational training or other livelihood promotion activities would promote their livelihoods up to the level where they can be eligible to access financial markets. The extreme poor cannot access to even micro-finance programmes.

Personally, the graduation programme for the ultra poor in Bangladesh by BRAC is one of my favourite programmes.

The graduation approach has five building blocks – consumption support, savings, the transfer of an asset, skills training, and regular coaching, which are delivered over a period of 18-36 months. It is modeled off the BRAC program in Bangladesh which has reached more than 1.4 million people since it was created in 1972.

Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP)

1. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of BRAC

2. Carolina Trivelli, former Minister of Development and Social Inclusion in Peru

3. Wais Barmak, minister of rural rehabilitation in Afghanistan

4. Mariana Escobar Arango, deputy director of the Department for Social Prosperity in Colombia

5. Dean Karlan, founder of Innovations for Poverty Action

6. Tiago Falco, the national secretary of Brazil’s Ministry of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger

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