August 4

Graduation Innovation: New Directions in a Proven Anti-Poverty Approach

An estimated 700 million people worldwide still live below the USD $1.90 per day threshold of extreme poverty. Anti-poverty measures like microcredit have achieved success largely among the economically active poor, but people in the most extreme poverty face unique challenges, including geographic and social isolation, ill health, lack of education, lack of communication, and poor transportation and sanitation infrastructure.

The “graduation approach,” first developed by BRAC in Bangladesh, has demonstrated remarkable success in overcoming those challenges to make meaningful and lasting gains among participants. However, the program is expensive and difficult to operate on massive scale. Fortunately, innovative organizations around the world are taking the model in exciting new directions.

The posts in this series explore some intriguing variations on the graduation model, discussing promising avenues for scale, new approaches for serving the poorest of the poor, and innovative ways to foster entrepreneurship – even among participants who aren’t entrepreneurial by nature. Participating organizations in the series include MetLife Foundation, Bandhan-Konnagar and Village Enterprise.