Challenging the Frontiers of Poverty Reduction: Targeting the Ultra Poor

BRAC's approach to help the ultra-poor
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This paper discuses the features and lessons learnt from the two programs implemented by Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee (BRAC):

  • Income generation for vulnerable groups development program (IGVGD);
  • Special investment program for the specially targeted ultra poor.

The paper highlights the special features of the IGVGD program: selection of the beneficiaries is done by the government and program implementation model is developed jointly by all partners. The paper discusses the major learning's from the program that include:

  • Disciplines of microfinance do not suit the livelihood pattern of the ultra poor;
  • Ultra poor members do not feel confident about repayment of loan.

The paper states that based on the learnings from the IGVGD program, a new approach ‘'special investment program' was designed for the specially targeted ultra poor. The paper discusses the objective of the special investment program and the identification process for the ultra poor. It highlights the kind of support provided to the ultra-poor under special investment program including enterprise development training and assets transfer to start an enterprise. The paper discuses the findings from the external evaluation report 2004-05:

  • 75% of members have built the foundation for a sustainable livelihood;
  • 89.4% of school aged children are enrolled in school.

Finally, the paper concludes with the lessons learnt from special investment program:

  • Close supervision is required to help ultra-poor to graduate from poverty;
  • Special efforts are required to change the mindset of the participants.

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