According to our latest graduation data collection exercise graduation programming is growing fast with close to 60 graduation programs now implemented in nearly 40 countries as of December 2016 (many thanks to all those who helped with data collection).
A third of ongoing graduation projects are being implemented by governments, reflecting the growing interest for this carefully-sequenced multi-sector approach as an integral part of their national social protection strategies. Over 2.5 million households have been reached to date with ongoing programs expecting to reach an additional 1.2 million households by 2018. Over the past 18 months, graduation programs have shifted their focus from predominantly targeting rural households to becoming somewhat more mixed and urban. Targeting has also shifted from a predominant focus on woman and the poorest to a broader range of beneficiaries such as indigenous groups (31%), refugees and internally displaced people (9%), youth (18%), people with disabilities (22%), and elderly people (9%). Particularly exciting for our collective agenda is that that these programs are eager to learn: 71% of them include a research component to study impact of interventions on beneficiaries and there are 30 randomized control trials ongoing or planned. Important to our collective learning agenda, we also wanted to flag the new CGAP-IPA paper summarizing research on the relative cost effectiveness of livelihood development programs, lump-sum cash transfer initiatives, and graduation which shows that graduation holds the strongest value proposition for those seeking to sustainably reduce extreme poverty: Eliminating Extreme Poverty: Comparing the Cost-Effectiveness of Livelihood, Cash Transfer, and Graduation Approaches.
As you know, CGAP has been actively exploring options to transition its role as a facilitator of the graduation community of practice through the creation of a dedicated global partnership to support the economic inclusion of those currently left behind. The World Bank's Social Protection Labor and Jobs (SPLJ) Global Practice is keen on housing this new Platform with a vision to help the poorest households and other vulnerable populations sustainably improve their economic conditions, increase their resilience, and escape extreme poverty and social exclusion through initiatives that improve their earnings opportunities. The Platform will draw together governments and other stakeholders to support the design and implementation of household-level, multi-sectoral, time-bound interventions for extreme poor households and other vulnerable populations. It will be structured as an independent, lean secretariat supporting the activities of you all within the community of practice. It will deliver critical global public goods, test new solutions and magnify the impact of targeted economic inclusion investments of governments, development agencies and others. Our team is excited to continue the work moving forward!
Further conversations on detailed structure of the proposed platform for the Graduation community of practice are ongoing: We are very much looking forward to your ideas and input.