Graduation Pathways: Increasing Income and Resilience for the Extreme Poor
The graduation approach focuses on helping the poorest and most vulnerable households develop sustainable livelihoods, increase incomes, and move out of extreme poverty. It consists of a carefully sequenced, multisectoral intervention comprising social assistance to ensure basic consumption, skills training, seed capital, and employment opportunities to jump-start an economic activity, financial education and access to savings, and mentoring to build confidence and reinforce skills.
The interventions are time bound (generally 24–26 months) to preclude longterm dependence. The participating household’s trajectory, however, continues beyond the phase of the program interventions. Sustained progress rests on continued income earning and asset building and effective social protection systems to cushion against shocks. Given the Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDG) global focus on eradicating extreme poverty by 2030, the graduation approach should form an integral component of national social protection and poverty reduction strategies, along with social transfers, guaranteed employment, social insurance, and labor market support.
This brief provides an overview of the graduation approach, its impact, cost-effectiveness and potential for scaling up.