Knowledge Matters – Graduation Approach 2021

2 July 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of Knowledge Matters, from May 2021 which is focused on Concern's experience of, and learning from the Graduation Approach.

Euphemia Inina (42) mother of Alphonsine Niyonzima (21) waters their market garden at her home in Mabayi, Cibitoke. As part of the Graduation programme all participants are given seeds and training on how to grow food in their gardens. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith / Concern Worldwide.
Euphemia Inina (42) mother of Alphonsine Niyonzima (21) waters their market garden at her home in Mabayi, Cibitoke. As part of the Graduation programme all participants are given seeds and training on how to grow food in their gardens. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith / Concern Worldwide.

Our first experience implementing a Graduation programme was in Haiti between 2007 and 2009. Since then, we have adopted and tailored the approach, as a way of achieving social and economic inclusion in nine countries (Bangladesh, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Malawi, Somalia, Rwanda and Zambia) directly reaching 110,971 people but benefitting many more.

Graduation programmes contain a number of core pillars- social protection, livelihood promotion, financial inclusion and social empowerment - and target individuals or households living in extreme (and often chronic) poverty with a comprehensive package of support. At the same time, programmes aim to address systemic constraints and the root causes of pverty in a given context.

The evidence that the Graduation Approach works has been well documented and we remain committed to the approach under the new Livelihood Strategy (2021-2025).

This is the second special edition of Knowledge Matters focused on the Graduation Approach. The first, published in 2014, focused on the success and challenges of early programmes in Burundi, Rwanda, Haiti and Zambia. Seven years later, we have taken the opportunity to reflect on the evolution of the approach within Concern and to explore specific themes (coaching, income generation, risk management, system strengthening, gender transformative programming, and monitoring and evaluation). We hope that this learning will inform the design and implementation of future programmes, with a particular focus on what is needed to achieve sustainability and scale.

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This publication covers aid activities implemented with the financial assistance of several donors, including Irish Aid, UK Aid, The European Union and USAID. The ideas, opinions and comments herein are entirely the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent or reflect the policies of any donors.

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