What are the common graduation
Asset Transfer Programs
• BRAC CFPR – Targeting the Ultra
Public Works Programs
• Ethiopia’s Public Safety Net
Why are they popular?
Clear exit strategy
Value for money
Return on investment
Why are they contentious?
• Loses sight of the fundamental purpose of
• Time frames are too short to break the
cycle of poverty
• Assumes lives and livelihoods are linear
and the assets will make them resilient
against future shocks.
• Assumes programs are replicable across
• Can be gender blind
What do beneficiaries think?
“Beneficiaries themselves, of course, have no
concept of the point at which they might have
- Nicholas Freeland, Consultant
What are the risks of supporting graduation
• If political support is fixated on (unrealistic)
graduation targets, a failure to reach them
can not only cut the ‘productive’ element
of the program, but also the ‘protective’
• Perverse incentives if thresholds are known
What does the evidence tell us about the
success of graduation programs?
• Positive results – but for how long?
• Indicators for measuring resilience adequate or too low?
• Do we need more insights from
• Can the program be undermined by the
state? (India’s NREGA impact on CGAP pilot)
Where to from here?
How to use graduation wisely
• Poverty reduction is a long term
investment, not a 3 – 5 year project
• Need a broad based comprehensive social
protection strategy that addresses lifecycle
• Examples: Aid program investments in
Indonesia and the Philippines