Updated Jan 15, 2021

BRAC Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative

Part of BRAC

http://bracultrapoorgraduation.org/

Robert Irven

Send Message

BRAC UPGI aims to scale Graduation through governments worldwide to help 21 million more people escape extreme poverty by 2026, integrating with existing programs and supporting policy change to better meet the needs of the poorest people.

The Ultra Poor Graduation Approach is a comprehensive, time-bound and sequenced set of interventions designed to graduate households from ultra poverty into sustainable livelihoods. Pioneered by BRAC in 2002, it has been scaled in Bangladesh, where more than 2 million households (approximately 7 million people) have graduated over the past 15 years with a 95% success rate. It is a proven, well-...
SEE ALL
The Ultra Poor Graduation Approach is a comprehensive, time-bound and sequenced set of interventions designed to graduate households from ultra poverty into sustainable livelihoods. Pioneered by BRAC in 2002, it has been scaled in Bangladesh, where more than 2 million households (approximately 7 million people) have graduated over the past 15 years with a 95% success rate. It is a proven, well-researched, replicable, and scalable integrated development approach to address the needs of the global poor. Graduation applies a holistic approach to meet participants’ unique needs, providing them with a livelihood, skills training, financial services, and mentorship and coaching on social and health issues. Graduation is proven to contribute to long-term gains for participants, including an increase in income, savings, consumption, and confidence years after the programs ends, which has led to additional improvements within the household and community. Over time, as we have continued to refine our approach, we’ve realized there are four core pillars, regardless of geographic and community context, that are fundamental to implementing Graduation successfully: 1) meeting basic needs; 2) income generation; 2) Finance support and savings; and 4) social empowerment.
SEE LESS
MLC Vanguard
  

Stage 5: Scaling

BRAC’s approach, carried forward by BRAC’s UPGI, has graduated +2 million households (>7 million people) out of extreme poverty, with an average of +95% of participants continuing to improve financially 5-7 years after the program ends.
Registered in United States, Bangladesh, Netherlands and United Kingdom as Non-Profitin United States, Bangladesh, Netherlands and United Kingdom as Non-Profit

Focus Areas:

Mentoring/Coaching, Economic Empowerment, Gender Equity and 3 MoreSEE ALL

Mentoring/Coaching, Economic Empowerment, Gender Equity, Leadership Development, Entrepreneurship and ResilienceSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan and 10 MoreSEE ALL

Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Lesotho, Philippines, Egypt, Guinea, Zambia, Tunisia and LiberiaSEE LESS

13
Countries Implemented In
200,000,000
Customers
20
Employees

Problem

The need to combat extreme poverty and drive systemic change has never been more urgent. It has created a humanitarian crisis of catastrophic proportions putting millions of the world’s poorest at risk of being left behind without resources to overcome the shock. At the beginning of 2020 an estimated 700 million people lived in extreme poverty around the world. By the end of 2020, more than 70 million people could be forced to join them, unraveling decades of progress toward poverty alleviation.

}

Solution

We work to support those stuck in a poverty trap by providing a pathway out through our Graduation programs. Graduation — an approach we invented in 2002 — is designed to meet the complex and interconnected needs of this hard-to-reach population. Breaking the cycle of extreme poverty requires a holistic approach. Through a set of carefully sequenced steps, participants graduate from a state of severe destitution to a level where they can maintain sustainable livelihoods with dignity.

Target Beneficiaries

394 million people remain trapped in ultra-poverty. The ultra-poor are in a poverty trap facing challenges to dignified everyday survival that come in many forms, including: chronic food insecurity; an inability to access mainstream services and markets; an extreme vulnerability to health shocks and natural disasters; geographic isolation and social exclusion; and many are female-headed households (80% of participants) caring for children, orphans, people with disabilities and the elderly.

Mission and Vision

We are working to break the cycle of extreme poverty through increased integration of our Graduation program. By scaling our proven intervention through government adoption, accelerating the rate of change and lifting 4.6 million households, over 21 million people, out of extreme poverty over the next six years. The solution to reaching millions more people living in extreme poverty is clear: Governments must take the helm and be equipped to scale up and sustain the Graduation approach.

Competitive Advantage

BRAC has unparalleled depth of experience around how to design and implement scalable Graduation programs in a wide range of contexts. We invented the Graduation approach in Bangladesh in the early 2000s, and we remain the largest-scale implementer globally, graduating approximately 100,000 households from the program each year. Our Graduation approach has also been adapted in 13 other countries, through a mix of direct, partner NGO and government programming. Much of Graduation’s success can be attributed to our commitment and focus on learning and innovation. In Bangladesh alone, we changed the rural program four times, and developed separate versions for urban and refugee host communities.

Planned Goals and Milestones

Increased partnerships and coalitions — with country governments, like-minded organizations and donors — who are ready and willing to operate with urgency and adopt the graduation model. If we can expand how governments in low-income countries think about safety nets and social protection programs for extremely poor populations, integrating a graduation approach, millions more people will have their basic needs met.

The Team Behind the Innovation

Shameran is Senior Director of Microfinance and Ultra-Poor Graduation programs. He leads the organization’s work in financial inclusion and ultra-poverty globally and chairs the board of BRAC Bank’s mobile financial services subsidiary, bKash. Lindsay Coates is the Managing Director of BRAC UPGI. Lindsay leads the advocacy agenda to leave no one behind using effective, multidimensional approaches to change the lives of the most marginalized people.

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Sep 2020
New Country Implemented In
Tunisia
Aug 2020
New Country Implemented In
Zambia
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Bangladesh
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Kenya
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Uganda

Supporting Materials

Graduation-Overview-Nov-2020-orientation-null.pdf
Graduation-Impact-and-Reach-Factsheet-orientation-null.pdf