Early introduction of livelihoods found to be critical factor in moving large numbers out of extreme poverty

October 14, 2011 Posted by Update

For years, ultra poor interventions built around subsidies and skill-building activities have helped to move households living below the extreme poverty line toward some productive activity or eligibility for microfinance schemes. For all their individual successes, these interventions have also struggled with high cost-per-beneficiary and an inability to sustain programs after donor funds run out.

As part of the Sorenson-Unitus Ultra Poor Initiative, Uttarakhand-based Partners in Prosperity (PnP) experimented with new ways of overcoming these hurdles and found that, more than any other factor, early introduction of stable livelihoods played a significant role in determining the success and scalability of an ultra poor intervention. By connecting extremely poor households with structured income-generating opportunities at a program’s outset, effectiveness and potential scalability dramatically improved.

Ultimately, the numbers tell the story of these successes. Women participating in the program reported between $35-$45 in increased income per month. Furthermore, with participants able to meet more of their basic food and housing needs through new income streams, the cost burden placed on PnP could be reduced by more than 80%.

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