Case study

Exploring Changes in the Lives of the Ultra Poor: An Exploratory Study on CFPR/TUP Members

How do participants in a poverty reduction program perceive its impact?
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This paper explores the impact of 'Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee's" (BRAC's) new experimental program for the ultra poor called, 'Challenging the Frontiers of Poverty Reduction/Targeting the Ultra Poor' (CFPR/TUP).

The paper aims to better understand the perceptions of change as defined by the program members and the underlying factors that explain the changes perceived. The program:

  • Targets the ultra poor who fail to benefit/drop out from existing development programs;
  • Uses an asset-based approach where physical assets are provided to the selected ultra poor women as grants;
  • Aims to strengthen the physical, social and human asset base of the ultra poor so that they can attain the foundation for sustainable livelihoods, and participate and benefit from mainstream development programs.

The study finds that:

  • Initial conditions matter - households that owned homestead land, had other sources of income, had adult male labour power and did not suffer from recurrent health costs did better;
  • The program encouraged the members to save out of the income accrued from running the TUP enterprise and the product was focussed on supporting promotional needs;
  • Most participants viewed change as the increased ability to handle future economic shocks;
  • Non-financial factors were more important in determining the ranks assigned.

The paper concludes that circumstances of the ultra poor households differ and a sole focus on savings for meeting promotional needs may thus need reconsideration.

About this Publication

By Matin, I. & Walker, S.