The Graduation Project: Sustainable Livelihoods Initiative for the Poorest

Linking safety nets and livelihood training to financial services
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This paper describes the Trickle Up Graduation Pilot launched in West Bengal, India in 2006.

The CGAP-funded project sought to enable 300 women to start sustainable livelihood activities, establish savings groups, and eventually link with banks offering loans to enable their families to graduate out of chronic food insecurity. The pilot:

  • Helped women to select enterprises;
  • Provided training to entrepreneurs;
  • Purchased assets and transferred them to entrepreneurs;
  • Gave weekly subsistence allowance to each entrepreneur;
  • Appointed health officers to monitor entrepreneur and family health;
  • Hired veterinarians to care for livestock.

The pilot reached over 300 extremely poor households, bringing them to a point where they earned sufficient funds to afford food, clothing and shelter without going out of their village. The pilot also helped ensure that school-aged children went to school, and that families had an awareness of key health issues and access to health services from registered medical facilities. Lastly the pilot helped households access government programs and other facilities, and reduce unwanted expenditures.

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