Reaching the Poorest at Scale

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Date Published: 
Apr 2015
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Updates on the CGAP-Ford Foundation Graduation Program and efforts to take the approach to scale

A woman stands in front of her children. Photo by CGAP and Partners.

At the Reaching the Poorest Global Learning Event 2014, over 100 leading policymakers, researchers, practitioners, and donors convened to discuss the lessons from the Graduation into Sustainable Livelihoods Approach. At the core of the agenda were discussions on how this approach can be incorporated into social protection planning to reach the extreme poor at scale. 

For CGAP and Ford Foundation, achieving scale is one of the main challenges when implementing the approach. Since 2006, CGAP and Ford Foundation have been testing and adapting the approach in eight different countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Pakistan, Peru and Yemen. In September 2014, findings and lessons from these pilots were published in From Extreme Poverty to Sustainable Livelihoods: A Technical Guide to the Graduation Approach. This guide serves as a know-how manual for others interested in implementing well-documented and successful graduation scale-ups.

Below, we share updates from a few of the CGAP-Ford Foundation pilots, as well as highlight the governments and organizations taking the Graduation Approach to scale.

CGAP-Ford Foundation Pilots: What’s New?

Several of the ten sites that implemented the pilots have already made strides to scale up and broaden their reach:

  • In Pakistan, the NGO Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) has reached over 70,000 households with a streamlined version of the approach and plans to continue extending the program to many more households across Pakistan.
  • In India, Trickle Up has scaled up to 6,050 participants through 2014 and is implementing modified graduation projects in West Africa and Central America.
  • In India, Axis Bank, a private sector player, has partnered with Bandhan with the goal of reaching 55,000 new extreme poor households by the end of 2015.
  • In Haiti, Fonkoze was able to scale up to 3,575 participants by the end of 2013 through its Chemen Lavi Miyo (CLM) Program and is aiming to reach 5,000 people by the end of 2015. Fonkoze also launched a new CLM pilot working with disabled people. The new challenge for Fonkoze is to replicate their success in different regions in Haiti.

Graduation 2.0

Governments and large donors are taking the approach to scale with the goal of making these programs even more effective. In Latin America, where over 100 million households are recipients of conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs, it has been acknowledged that CCTs on their own are not silver bullets to ending poverty. Taking cues from Graduation pilots, national governments in Peru and Colombia decided to integrate graduation programs into their respective social safety net programs. Similarly, in Ethiopia, the government is integrating the approach into its Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), the largest social safety net program in Sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated ten million people will benefit as a result.

Furthermore, donors and international NGOs are also interested in rolling out the Graduation Approach as a new way of working with the extreme poor. Below is a snapshot of some of the programs being implemented by governments and donors around the world. 

Pilot Implementations by Governments

Afghanistan: Targeting the Ultra Poor Program

Colombia: Producing for My Future/Produciendo Por Mi Futuro

Paraguay:  Tenondera/Step Ahead

Peru: Haku Wiñay- Mi Chacra Emprendedora  & Juntos

Pilot Implementation by Large Donors

UNHCR: Graduation Pilots with Technical Assistance by Trickle Up and BRAC in Egypt, Costa Rica and Ecuador

Pilot Implementation by NGOs

Concern Worldwide: Graduation Pilots  in Burundi, Rwanda, Haiti and Zambia

Maxwell Stamp PLC with three NGOs in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (Laos Government) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT): Resilient Livelihoods for the Poor (RLP) in Laos


Learn more by exploring the Graduation Into Sustainable Livelihoods topic resource center »

Photo by CGAP and partners

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