In Conversation at RESULTS: How the Graduation Approach Fits Into Social Protection Programs

Amplifier team

The question of how graduation approaches can work with existing social protection programs is becoming central to efforts of governments, funders and implementers as they consider how to effectively reduce poverty and increase resiliency.

New learnings were on display at the 2016 RESULTS Annual Conference, where a group of graduation advocates and practitioners from Uplift, BRAC, Fundación Capital, RESULTS and Trickle Up explored what new research is showing on the effectiveness of graduation in different cultural contexts throughout the world and how through working with national governments graduation can go to scale.

Two leading lights on the panel are already demonstrating innovative approaches to integrating graduation with social protection. Fundación Capital’s “second generation” graduation programs in Colombia, Paraguay and elsewhere are proof positive that coordination with national governments yields positive dividends for all stakeholders, most importantly, of course, graduation families. Trickle Up, in a much different context, has proved that their government partnership can reach families in need that other programs have struggled to serve.

Uplift, a collaborative initiative to bring graduation to the next 1 million families, is proud to work with and learn from Fundación Capital and Trickle Up as they blaze new trails in working alongside their government partners.

In Colombia, the graduation adaptations piloted by Fundación Capital and now being implemented at scale by the Colombian government, are reaching over 11,000 families. In Paraguay, the program first piloted in October 2015 is now being rapidly scaled up by the Paraguayan government to reach 35,000 families by the end of next year. There, graduation has, within two years, become the primary government strategy for alleviation of extreme poverty, and is expanding to include value chain partnerships with the private sector as well.

Fundación Capital is also testing programs with families in Mexico and Honduras, and will soon launch in Mozambique and Tanzania. In each of these programs, governments and Fundación Capital, with the support of key partners, are reaching the country’s’ poorest citizens, enabling transformational change through coordination and partnership.

In India, Trickle Up is also demonstrating that success can come through government partnerships. Trickle Up provides co-implementation, training and management of community resources with two state branches (Odisha and Jharkhand) in the government’s National Rural Livelihoods Mission. The partnership is proving vital to reaching many families that other programs want to serve more effectively, bringing them into government services and financial inclusion.

New partnerships for impact

Taken together, Fundación Capital and Trickle Up are showing how government, the social sector, and corporations can partner to provide the capacity to achieve what may not otherwise be achieved. In the case of graduation programs, success means graduation into livelihoods as vulnerable households continue climbing the development ladder on their own.

This so-called “second generation” of graduation programs are a natural evolution of the conditional cash transfer model and have been carefully designed to integrate with the specific needs, context, and social protection policy in each country.

The evolution can’t come soon enough for people in need and for countries whose budgets are under stress. The exploration for integrated solutions is in its infancy, and Uplift and its partners are dedicated to finding the right pathway to maximize efficiency and impact.

We know the key for impact continues to be in the strengthening of systems to assist people living in extreme poverty with productive, financial, human and social assets and integrating with existing social protection programs. With government as a partner, graduation programs can take the next step from social protection to social promotion. Graduation participants deserve nothing less.

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