Graduation

The graduation approach strengthens long-term resilience by combining cash transfers with access to financial services, livelihood promotion, and psychosocial support.

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The graduation approach consists of programming that combines cash transfers with additional resilience support. This approach has been shown to reduce extreme poverty. It may also be effective in strengthening long-term resilience for poor households.

Approach

The graduation approach integrates:

  • Social protection: includes consumption support, health, and social integration
  • Livelihood promotion: includes market linkages, asset transfers and technical skill development
  • Financial inclusion: refers to savings, financial literacy, and linkages to formal financial inclusion
  • Psychosocial support: consists of coaching and caseworker support to build confidence and life skills

As a means of reducing extreme poverty, the graduation approach has had notable success. One study examined 21,000 graduation program participants in six countries one year after the program ended. On average, participants had significantly more assets and savings than those who did not participate. They also went hungry on fewer days and spent more time working. Additionally, they experienced lower levels of stress and improved physical health. Whether these benefits translate into greater resilience to shocks and stresses requires further investigation.

Evidence

The graduation approach is currently being tested by the World Bank in six Sahel countries in West Africa. The study hopes to determine if it is as effective at strengthening resilience as reducing poverty. The World Bank’s Sahel Adaptive Social Protection program complements government cash transfer programs with integrated support packages. Packages include savings groups, community sensitization, life skills training, micro-entrepreneurship training, capital injection (cash grants), and market access.

The program targets 600,000 households. It is implemented through hybrid models including government workers, NGOs, community facilitators, and private sector providers. The study of 25,000 participants in six countries is comparing the impact of three different packages of support on resilience outcomes.

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