BRAC’s Graduation approach is a multifaceted intervention proven to break the poverty trap that includes training in life skills, finance and business, along with consumption stipends, an asset transfer and regular coaching and monitoring. Over the next five years, BRAC will work with governments to adopt and scale-up Graduation programs in eight countries — lifting 21 million people out of ultra-poverty and setting millions more on the same path.
Main photo caption: Amina, a participant of the PROFIT Financial Graduation pilot in Kitui county, Kenya has big plans for growing her dressmaking
business. / BRAC
BRAC’s Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative has been swiftly adapting to address the increasing vulnerability of those living in extreme poverty and to ensure their basic needs are met during the pandemic and its aftermath.
In Egypt and the Philippines, BRAC is providing services such as: coaching and consumption stipends; increasing health and hygiene awareness; and linking families with government support. Early results of these adaptations in the Philippines show 76 percent of program participants were able to continue generating income, despite severe lockdown measures.
Leading global development agencies are seeking BRAC’s support to formulate stronger pandemic response initiatives. BRAC joined the steering committee of the World Bank’s Partnership for Economic Inclusion (PEI); advised the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights; and contributed to the French government’s emerging discussions on establishing a Global Fund for Social Protection.
Building Resilience Amid Chaos
When Jenalyn Dizon, a mother of five, joined the Philippines Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Graduation pilot in 2018 — offered in partnership with ADB and with technical assistance from BRAC’s Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative — she wasn’t at all prepared to overcome the disruption and devastation that would be brought about by COVID-19 in 2020.
Yet, two years after the pilot started and the survival of her family and neighbors was at great risk, Jenalyn was able to withstand the shock. In fact, she was able to increase her income this year, by providing fresh food to her community during grocery lockdowns. She was able to do this, she says, thanks to the training and support she received as a participant in the DOLE Graduation pilot.
“In confronting the COVID-19 crisis, we must act swiftly and design programs that meet the increasing and evolving needs of those living in extreme poverty — programs that are both comprehensive and adaptive, immediate but geared toward long-term needs. That is how we build resilience and support sustainable recovery.”