Tackling Ultra-poverty through the Graduation Approach: Situating Sustainable Livelihoods in the Landscape of Social Protection and Safety Nets

BRAC was founded in Bangladesh in 1972 and now works in nine other countries with very impoverished populations: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, Philippines, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone and Liberia. From its years of experience designing and implementing microfinance and other programs, BRAC gained the insight that a unique set of interventions isrequired to bring out of extreme poverty those who they, and now others, call the “ultra-poor”: people living on half or less of a US $1.25-a-day poverty threshold. BRAC pioneered the approach in 2002 by combining social safety nets with support for income-generating, and named it the Graduation approach, or Targeting the Ultra Poor (TUP) program. Graduation programs complement small cash stipends and in-kind asset transfers with several other sequenced interventions including savings,training, social integration and health care services.