Now is the time to invest in Graduation

Daniel Kessler

In May 2015, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)–two of the most renowned research organizations in the world–published an article in Science Magazine demonstrating that the Graduation Approach is not only tremendously effective, but it has a lasting impact on the lives of the least well off.

For far too many the poverty trap is inescapable. The lack of assets leads to no job opportunities which in turn ensures that they cannot get assets. It is a negative spiral that will continue for generations without an intervention.

J-PAL and IPA proved that Graduation is indeed that needed intervention. From the paper:


At the end of the intervention, we found statistically significant impacts on all 10 key outcomes or indices. One year after the end of the intervention, 36 months after the productive asset transfer, 8 out of 10 indices still showed statistically significant gains, and there was very little or no decline in the impact of the program on the key variables (consumption, household assets, and food security). Income and revenues were significantly higher in the treatment group in every country. Household consumption was significantly higher in every country except one (Honduras). In most countries, the (discounted) extra earnings exceeded the program cost.


The Graduation program’s primary goal, to substantially increase consumption of the very poor, is achieved by the conclusion of the program and maintained 1 year later. The estimated benefits are higher than the costs in five out of six sites. Although more can be learned about how to optimize the design and implementation of the program, we establish that a multifaceted approach to increasing income and well-being for the ultrapoor is sustainable and cost-effective.

Now is the time to invest in Graduation

The evidence demonstrates again why Amplifier, BRAC and our other partners started Uplift, an initiative committed to scaling the Graduation Approach. Uplift is a rapidly scaling initiative committed to empowering the next one million women and families across 20 countries with basic skills, training and assets to overcome extreme poverty.

When we empower the poor and marginalized, we open the doors for real and lasting transformation on the most pressing social issues facing the world—from climate change to hunger to peace. To get involved in Uplift, please click on this link.



Daniel Kessler