Targeting the Ultra Poor Graduation Programme

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The Ultra Poor Graduation Approach is a comprehensive, time-bound and sequenced set of interventions that aim to graduate people from ultra-poverty into sustainable livelihoods. It is an internationally recognized and well-researched integrated development approach. Pioneered by BRAC in 2002, the approach has been scaled in Bangladesh, where BRAC has graduated 1.77 million households over the past 15 years.

No Poverty , Zero Hunger , Good Health and Well-Being , Gender Equality , Decent Work and Economic Growth , Reduced Inequalities , Eradicate extreme poverty , End hunger, especially of poor, vulnerable, infants , Equal rights to resources, technology, land, microfinance

Individuals living at or around USD 2 a day are in a vastly different situation than the ultra-poor. The vast majority of ultra-poor people's meager income, often as little as the equivalent of 60 US cents a day, is used on food. Despite this, the ultra-poor are not able to secure daily nutritional requirements. Most ultra-poor are landless rural women, they lead a precarious existence, prone to shocks like illness and bad harvests. These populations are often the hardest to reach. Most market-based interventions, including microfinance, are not helpful as all of an ultra-poor's income goes into sustenance, and are thus not in a position to repay the loan.

The Graduation approach enrolls an ultra poor participant for two years and works through a combination of programmatic themes that include (i) livelihoods development, (ii) financial inclusion, (iii) social protection, and (iv) coaching/mentoring. Key interventions within these themes include asset transfers, enterprise development, technical skills training, regular life skills training and individual coaching, consumption stipends, financial literacy and savings, health care and social integration. The training and transfers are delivered through both individual and group modalities, and each participant is coached and monitored by a dedicated programme staff. At the end of two years, participants ‘graduate’ out of the programme by meeting a defined set of indicators.

Together these interdependent interventions lead to strong outcomes at the household level including increased or improved assets, increased incomes, food security, savings and financial inclusion, health outcomes, social integration and productive skills.



Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade , UK DFID


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