Following the increased attention that has been given to ‘Graduation’ programmes in recent years, the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth has released a timely special issue of Policy in Focus: ‘Debating Graduation’. It comprises a collection of diverse papers with contesting perspectives on the value of the Graduation approach, ranging from committed enthusiasts, to the cautiously optimistic, to scepticism.
Within the publication, you’ll find Stephen Kidd and Diloá Bailey-Athias’ contribution ‘The effectiveness of the Graduation Approach: what does the evidence tell us?’, beginning on page 22. Stephen and Diloa undertake a robust analysis of the evidence to assess whether Graduation programmes really are effective in “move[ing] people out of extreme poverty and into sustainable livelihoods,” as claimed by enthusiasts. They conclude that “the claims made about the success of Graduation programmes are both misleading and exaggerated, since they give the impression that impacts are much greater than they actually are.” Indeed, they show that the improvement in wellbeing among people living in poverty as a result of Graduation programmes is minimal and, in most cases, not sustainable. While they argue that no-one should be against giving people living in poverty a few animals, to suggest that Graduation programmes are the silver bullet for poverty reduction is a step too far (while they are almost certainly not cost-effective). Enjoy the read.
Stephen Kidd is a Senior Social Policy Specialist at Development Pathways who has worked as a consultant and adviser on social development and social protection for the past 30 years.
Follow Stephen on Twitter: @JustKIDDing_DP
Diloá Bailey-Athias is an applied economist at Development Pathways. Since joining Development Pathways, Diloá has undertaken research on poverty and social protection programmes across a number of developing countries.
Also published on Medium.