Targeting the Ultra-Poor

Lessons from Fonkoze’s Graduation Program in Haiti

The ultra-poor are defined as the poorest sub-group of those in extreme poverty. They make up over half of the estimated 797 million people living in extreme poverty globally (RESULTS Educational Fund and Uplift 2017) and have particularly complex vulnerabilities and needs. The "graduation" program approach has been developed to address these needs and has been proven to successfully empower the ultra-poor to lift themselves out of poverty and into sustainable livelihoods. Fonkoze, a Haitian non-governmental organisation (NGO), has graduated over 6,000 Haitian women out of ultra-poverty through its Chemen Lavi Miyò (CLM) program.

This Learning Brief reports key findings from a study that compared the poverty status of participants in Fonkoze’s CLM program with households identified by the national poverty indicator. It first reports the broader context on the graduation approach – globally and in Haiti – presenting an overview of both the national social protection program and Fonkoze’s CLM program. This is followed by an account of research to compare the CLM target group with the targeting of the national program, testifying to the ultra-poverty of CLM households. The CLM ultra-poor are a clear sub-category of those identified as ‘most’ deprived by the national poverty indicator and the Brief concludes by arguing that standalone survey-based approaches are likely to be wholly inadequate as a targeting tool for graduation programs in Haiti.

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By Martin Greeley