Of course, there is no ‘magic bullet’ when it comes to addressing extreme poverty but a small number of interventions are increasingly showing great promise. One of these is the graduation programme. The positive perception of this programme does not just come from NGO practitioners, but also in findings put forward by a number of academics and researchers after a rigorous review of about 500 interventions. The accompanying article in the highly influential ‘Science’ magazine highlights how graduation programmes create lasting progress for the extreme poor.
Concern Worldwide has been implementing graduation programmes for over 10 years. In their most basic form, they incorporate elements of direct cash transfers, enhanced access to financial services, a programme of training and mentoring and the transfer of an asset to help improve on livelihoods. However, as we have seen increased levels of income and asset holdings amongst our programme participants, we have also identified a number of questions that we need to answer as the graduation programmes evolve.