26 livelihoods development. The graduation approach then helps the person identify an appropriate livelihood based on her interests and aptitudes and on market conditions, and then transfers cash or an asset in support of that livelihood. The asset might be a pair of sheep or goats if the livelihood is animal husbandry. Or it might be funding to purchase a start-up inventory to stock a shop if the livelihood is shopkeeping—or beekeeping equipment, or many other possibilities. When Trickle Up asked Maria Diego, a graduation program participant in Guatemala, how she would invest her seed capital, she knew right away: “I told them I could make chocolate, so for my business, I invested all $136 of my seed capital in cacao to purchase and resell in another community.” THE IMPORTANCE OF COACHES A defining characteristic of extreme poverty is isolation. It is not uncommon for extremely poor households to be socially (and often physically) cut off from the wider community by poor transportation and communications infrastructure, denying them economic opportunity and even basic services. For example, many extremely poor communities do not take advantage of social protection programs—meant for them—because they literally do not know that such programs exist, much less how to access them. To address the economic and social isolation faced by extremely poor communities, coaches engage participants at an individual level to build their confidence and basic financial education. Participants start by learning about savings and livelihood planning. These plans are an important means by which participants and their families conceptualize and set goals for their future. Coaches also help families obtain government benefits, such as health services. As participants engage in their livelihood activities, coaches visit regularly to ensure they are progressing, to provide “just in time” coaching for critical milestones in their livelihoods plans, and to help with any needed troubleshooting. This steady presence and positive reinforcement build participants’ confidence and skills. As one participant from West Bengal noted, “When the coach first came and talked to us about savings, we didn’t know how he thought poor people like us could save. But we trusted him so we listened, and he showed us how we could begin saving.” GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT: TRICKLE UP’S EXPERIENCE Having participated in the CGAP-Ford Foundation graduation pilot in the state of West Bengal, India, Trickle Up secured funding from MetLife Foundation to include lessonsfromtheWestBengalprogramintodemonstration projects in two other Indian states: Odisha and Jharkhand. These projects caught the attention of policymakers, and both state and national officials from the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) visited to see the projects firsthand. After careful analysis and much discussion, Trickle Up and the state agencies of NRLM partnered to incorporate the graduation approach into government policy implementation in both Odisha and Jharkhand. These efforts focused on particularly vulnerable tribal groups. Like other national governments, India’s has found that the needs of its poorest citizens are significantly different from those of even the slightly better-off poor. Trickle Up’s work in Odisha and Jharkhand initially demonstrated the graduation approach through work with 1,800 participants. It is now expanding among the bottom 10 to 15 percent of the population, the segment which has historically proven the hardest to reach effectively—and consequently, the one that has historically been left behind. LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER Trickle Up gained a wealth of experience from participation in the CGAP-Ford Foundation pilot and from its subsequent adaptations in Odisha, Jharkhand and other Indian states, Latin America, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and six West African nations. It provides expertise to key actors from local implementers, regional and national government ministries, and multilaterals like the World Bank. Given this portfolio of technical assistance partnerships with governments and large agencies across the world, Trickle Up is in a strong position to facilitate learning between different government programs, and has found that peer learning between those responsible for the design and implementation of programs at the national and local levels is very fruitful. Every year, the organization hosts or facilitates at least two of these types of events. Some involve learning visits, in which key government officials visit the implementation of a program in another