Graduating from extreme poverty

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Graduating from extreme poverty

Concern Worldwide’s approach to addressing extreme poverty is based on the graduation model first developed by the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee. This model is currently being implemented in Burundi, Rwanda, Haiti and Zambia.

Watch the video below to learn more about our graduation model and our approach to addressing extreme poverty. 

About the graduation model

Below is an excerpt from the latest edition of our Knowledge Matters publication, which explains our graduation model. 

As an organisation, Concern Worldwide is focused on addressing Extreme Poverty. In differentiating this concept from poverty we emphasise the need not only to address people’s lack of basic assets and the low return on these assets but also the causes, maintainers and obstacles that prevent people from escaping extreme poverty. We recognise the need to address inequality, risk and vulnerability.

We have developed an amended version of the Graduation Model, first developed by BRAC in Bangladesh, and subsequently piloted across eight countries, supported by CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) and the Ford Foundation. We are currently implementing this programme in four countries – Burundi, Rwanda, Haiti and Zambia.

Our experience from the Chemin Levi Miyo programme in Haiti found that case manager support is one of the most important components in making sure that programme participants successfully enroll and exit The Five steps to the ‘Graduation Model’ Approach.

The graduation approach utilises a multi-sectoral series of interventions (such as agriculture, micro-finance, cash transfers, skills trainings and asset transfers, and business development services) to support a pathway out of extreme poverty. There are five essential components in our Graduation model. The first component is a comprehensive Targeting exercise that makes sure extreme poor households are identified as programme participants. These households are selected, using a combination of methods including community identification through Participatory Wealth Rankings (PWR).

This helps to establish wealth categories and the criteria for selection, and entails explaining that those selected also need to have the physical ability to participate in the programme. The second component is Consumption Support, provided in the form of cash. This is meant to help programme participants meet their basic needs, as they are encouraged to change their livelihood strategies. This support helps participants and their families stabilise their consumption levels until they start earning income from the assets that have been developed and enhanced as part of the programme.

The third component of the programme is to provide skills training and regular coaching to the participants. This includes providing access to practical, short, hands-on trainings, as well as routine coaching and monitoring visits. During these visits, staff check whether participants are on track to reach their goals and offer guidance on how to address problems and encourage behavioural change. In our Haitian programme, this behaviour change element has seen a significant increase in the numbers of children sent to school.

The fourth element of the approach is exposure to Microfinance and in particular, savings. Although some amongst the extreme poor save informally, saving regularly in a formal way will help programme participants build financial discipline and become familiar with financial service providers.

The final component is an Asset transfer—this helps programme participants jump-start a sustainable and profitable economic activity. Options for viable livelihoods are developed through studies that analyse demand, available infrastructure, value chains and upstream and downstream linkages.

In depth