Policymakers Weigh In on the Graduation Approach

One of the most pressing challenges of our time is how to move people out of extreme poverty to a point where they can support themselves and their families. As more emerging countries move to middle-income status, a deliberate focus on the poorest is needed to avoid leaving behind pockets of poverty. At CGAP, we have been looking at what we call the graduation approach as an option for finding pathways out of extreme poverty, which in this instance means living off less than $1.25 a day.

Girl sitting on a wall.
Photo by Michael Rizzo

The graduation approach has five building blocks – consumption support, savings, the transfer of an asset, skills training, and regular coaching, which are delivered over a period of 18-36 months. It is modeled off the BRAC program in Bangladesh which has reached more than 1.4 million people since it was created in 1972.

Policymakers from Afghanistan to Brazil are looking at how to incorporate this approach into social protection programs, not with the goal of replacing those programs but rather to make them more effective. Earlier this year, CGAP and the Ford Foundation hosted more than 100 leading policymakers, practitioners, and development experts to discuss this issue and find ways to take these programs, where appropriate, to scale.

CGAP spoke to government officials, academics and the founder of the BRAC program, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, to get their views on what has worked and why in the graduation approach. This policymaker video series also includes interviews with:

  • Carolina Trivelli: Former Minister, Development and Social Inclusion, Peru, and currently a member of CGAP’s Executive Committee
  • Dean Karlan: Founder of Innovations for Poverty Action
  • Tiago Falcão: National Secretary, Ministry of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger, Brazil
  • Sir Fazle Hasan Abed: Founder and Chairperson of BRAC
  • Wais Barmak: Minister, Rural and Rehabilitation Development, Afghanistan
  • Mariana Escobar Arango: Deputy Director, Department of Social Prosperity, Colombia

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