Aude De Montesquiou

Aude de Montesquiou formerly served as a Financial Sector Specialist at CGAP. With over 10 years of experience in financial inclusion, she was the Task Team Leader for the Graduation and Vulnerable Segments Initiative. She oversaw the implementation of the CGAP-Ford Foundation Graduation Program, a global effort to understand how safety nets, livelihoods, and microfinance can be sequenced to create for the poorest out of extreme poverty in eight countries with an intensive research agenda and randomized impact evaluations in seven sites. She is the co-author of the From Extreme Poverty to Sustainable Livelihoods, the CGAP-Ford Foundation Technical Guide on the Graduation Approach, and others such as Reaching the Poorest: Lessons from the Graduation Model. Aude provides technical advice to extreme poverty reduction programs worldwide. She has held speaking engagements and moderating roles at high-level events on extreme poverty reduction including with Mohammed Yunus, the World Bank, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Government of Brazil. 

Previously, Aude worked on funder effectiveness, supporting CGAP’s Country Level Effectiveness and Accountability Reviews. She also used to manage the Savings Information Resource Center, a website dedicated to promoting accessible savings services for the poor. From 2006-2012 she was CGAP’s relationship manager for the Microinsurance Network, a leading platform for insurers, funders, and academics to promote valuable insurance products for the poor. She contributed to seminal publications such as Protecting the Poor - A Microinsurance Compendium, and Microinsurance: What Can Donors Do. Before joining CGAP, she completed internships working on impact evaluation at PlaNet Finance, and with microfinance institutions in Lebanon and Togo. Aude holds a master’s degree (Summa Cum Laude) from the School of Political Science in Paris (Sciences-Po) with a specialization in development studies, and a bachelor's degree in history from the University of La Sorbonne. She is fluent in English and French, speaks Portuguese and Spanish, and has rudimentary German.

By Aude De Montesquiou


Adapting the Graduation Approach for People with Disabilities

Here are nine lessons for how donors can adapt the graduation approach to help low-income people with disabilities build sustainable livelihoods.

Graduation Pathways

The graduation approach is expected to grow in scale and influence, with strong demand from governments to create nationally scaled programs.

Eliminating Extreme Poverty

Continued reduction of extreme poverty will require targeted interventions to help the poorest increase their standard of living. Effective social protection programs are critical to this effort. Livelihood development programs, lump-sum cash transfers, and graduation programs have the potential to help the very poor increase incomes to move out of extreme poverty.

Graduation into Sustainable Livelihoods: What’s in a Name?

When it comes to graduation programming, the term “graduation” is often misunderstood, which can lead to confusion about the approach. What is the meaning of "graduation," and what does it mean for poverty reduction efforts?

The Graduation Approach Works: Now how do we Reach Scale?

Over half of 40 new Graduation projects are being implemented by governments. Some are adjusting the approach or integrating technology to make it more efficient and easier to scale.