Holistic support can empower people to forge a pathway out of extreme poverty.
Worldwide, over 700 million people experience extreme poverty, living on less than $1.90 per day. Extreme poverty disproportionately affects women, who often lack the resources, skills, and opportunities they need to escape the poverty trap. BRAC’s flagship Ultra-Poor Graduation approach instills hope and provides the knowledge and tools to enable people to chart a pathway out of poverty.
families graduated out of extreme poverty in Bangladesh
countries where BRAC has run or advised on Graduation programs
increase in earnings among participants in Bangladesh years after the program ends
years economic benefits are sustained after the program
BRAC’s innovative Graduation approach has enabled millions to lift themselves out of extreme poverty.
With more than 50 years of experience working hand-in-hand with communities around the globe, BRAC understands the unique, multifaceted needs of people living in extreme poverty—and their inherent potential. Our pioneering, proven Graduation approach unlocks that potential and enables people to break the cycle of poverty.
A holistic approach
BRAC’s Ultra-Poor Graduation approach is a multifaceted set of interventions designed to address the complex nature of extreme poverty. Participants receive a stipend to support their basic needs; a productive asset such as livestock, equipment, or seed capital; training in life skills, finance, and business skills; and regular coaching and mentoring. Participants unlock their intrinsic potential and develop sustainable livelihoods that set them on a path of upward economic mobility. They also become better integrated into society, develop social connections, improve their self-esteem, and establish active roles in their communities.
A holistic approach
The Graduation approach is proven to break the cycle of poverty and yield lasting results. In Bangladesh, BRAC has reached more than two million families. Research shows that 95 percent of BRAC’s participants lift themselves out of extreme poverty by the end of the program, and that seven years later, the benefits were sustained for 93 percent of the participants, including a 37 percent increase in earnings, a nine percent increase in consumption, a ninefold increase in savings, and a twofold increase in assets and land.
Since BRAC pioneered the Graduation approach in Bangladesh in 2002, the approach has been adapted and used by partners in nearly 50 countries around the world, gaining traction as a scalable solution with proven success in breaking the poverty trap. Building on our success in Bangladesh and the effectiveness of pilots in other countries, BRAC launched the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative (UPGI), which aims to influence and assist governments and other partners to adapt and scale up the approach by providing technical assistance and conducting complementary advocacy. Now, UPGI is expanding to reach 21 million more people by scaling Graduation through government partners.
I never could have imagined that as a single mother, I would be able to improve my standard of living with sustainable income sources.”
Where we work
BRAC was founded in Bangladesh in 1972 and remains headquartered in Dhaka today. Our first and largest country of operation, BRAC runs a comprehensive suite of programs in nearly every corner of the country.
More than half of Liberia’s population lives below the poverty line, the largest proportion of any country where BRAC works. We launched operations in Liberia in 2008 with a goal of tackling the challenge holistically.
BRAC's Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative (UPGI) works to expand Graduation programs globally by supporting governments and other partners to adapt and scale the approach. UPGI has worked alongside partners in Egypt, Guinea, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Tunisia, Uganda, and more to reach people with the opportunities they need to unlock their potential and change their lives.
As a selected Audacious Project for 2020, BRAC’s Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative will work alongside governments to scale the Graduation approach and help 21 million more people to lift themselves from extreme poverty.
Our work in action
A proven solution to eradicate extreme poverty
For those stuck in the poverty trap, a ‘big push’ can enable them to lift themselves out of poverty and build resilience to avoid sliding back into the same trap. Learn how the Graduation approach does just that.