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IGC-STICERD-DESTIN Development Lecture

Creating Pathways for the Poorest: Linking safety nets, livelihoods and access to finance
Professor Syed M. Hashemi
Director, BRAC Development Institute

Monday, January 24, 1-2pm
STICERD Conference Room (R505)
5th Floor, LSE RLab, Lionel Robbins Building, Portugal Street, London WC2A 2HD

Map to venue

Presentation (in Adobe PDF)

About the topic

Trickle Up Graduation Pilot
West Bengal, India People at the very bottom of the economic ladder are often excluded, or exclude themselves, from microfinance. Their income is usually too low and unreliable to permit repayment of loans or investment in anything but basic food consumption. In some countries the very poor are served by safety net programs, which usually take the form of cash transfers, food aid, or guaranteed employment schemes.
Starting in 2006, CGAP and the Ford Foundation have been exploring how a 'graduation model' can create pathways out of extreme poverty, adapting a methodology developed by BRAC in Bangladesh.

The graduation model targets the 'ultra poor'- people who have no assets and are chronically food insecure. Safety nets usually help these very poor people survive but donít allow them to build up assets. The graduation program combines support for immediate needs with longer term investments in training, financial services, and business development so that within two years ultra poor people are equipped to help themselves move out of extreme poverty. The term 'graduation' refers to participants moving out of safety net programs and 'graduating' into income-earning activities that let them sustain themselves without external subsidies. The graduation approach was originally developed by BRAC in Bangladesh. Over the past five years BRACís Specially Targeting the Ultra-Poor program has reached 800,000 households- over 70 percent of them are currently food secure and managing sustainable economic activities.

Since, 2006 CGAP-Ford Foundation Graduation Program is helping to implement ten Graduation Pilots in partnership with local organizations in Haiti, India, Pakistan, Honduras, Peru, Ethiopia, Yemen and Ghana. The ten pilots involve diverse institutional forms, economic contexts, and cultures. Several of the pilots are measuring the program's effects on people's lives through rigorous randomized impact evaluations and qualitative research. This presentation will provide an overview of the graduation model and the pilot implementation.

About the speaker

Syed M. Hashemi has recently moved to Bangladesh to set up the BRAC Development Institute. The Institute seeks to create south-south partnerships to develop practical solutions for the poor for economic transformations, gender equity and social accountability. Prior to joining the Institute Hashemi worked for CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) in Washington DC. At CGAP he focused on identifying pro-poor innovations and disseminating best practice lessons related to poverty outreach and impact. Hashemi was amongst the pioneers who started the Social Performance Taskforce to promote a double bottom line in microfinance. He still continues to work for CGAP as Team Leader/manager of the CGAP-Ford Foundation Graduation Program, a multi-country program to develop new pathways for the poorest to graduate out of food insecurity.

Hashemi has also been Director of the Program for Research on Poverty Alleviation at Grameen Trust and Professor at the Department of Economics in Jahangirnagar University. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California at Riverside.

About BRAC Development Institute (BDI)

BDI provides graduate training, promotes research and builds knowledge to address the challenges of poverty, inequity and social injustice. It brings together academics and practitioners to raise critical questions on development, develops new ideas and new strategies, pilot tests new initiatives, provides important lessons on good practices, and advocates for pro-poor policies.