UPna sapna: Examining the Challenges of Ultra Poor Selection

UPna sapna case study finds new strategies for selecting and enrolling ultra poor households in programs promoting self-reliance

Administered in partnership with the Jharkhand-based nonprofit organization NEEDS, the UPna sapna program is a two year, agricultural livelihood-led ultra poor support program launched in Santhal Pargana, often cited as one of the poorest regions of India.

As part of the search for more scalable variations on the traditional ultra poor model, the UPna sapna program departs from convention by prioritizing food security and enhanced livelihoods through teaching new agricultural techniques to increase crop production for struggling households.

Unlike traditional ultra poor interventions which rely on short-term food subsidy and delay skills training to the end of a program, UPna sapna delivers agricultural training at the outset as a way of providing food security and increasing household income. With this strong foundation, beneficiaries are better equipped to participate in additional trainings in healthcare, child education, financial literacy and social empowerment activities.

While the early outcomes are promising as an effective ultra poor intervention, the pilot’s most notable contributions to the industry are insights into the challenges and best practices for targeting and selection of ultra poor households themselves.

Map of Jharkhand State in India

Selection is arguably the most crucial and also the most challenging aspect of an ultra poor program. In the UPna sapna experience, a combination of local cultural nuance, human resource consideration, information management challenges, and universal human instincts create a challenging maze for program staff to navigate en route to ensuring the households in most need are given the opportunity to participate.

Released in August 2011, this case study outlines these challenges and lessons learned as it reviews the design and implementation of this pilot program.

Read: UPna sapna Case Study Overview
Read: UPna sapna Case Study Report (PDF)

More Resources:

A conversation with Sachi Shenoy about the UPna sapna pilot (ThinkChange India)
Targeting the Ultra Poor: The Sustainable Agriculture Puzzle in India’s Most-Destitute State (NextBillion)

Sorenson-Unitus Ultra Poor Initiative Project Page >