Despite the global progress made in reducing the number of people living in poverty, more than 1.3 billion people around the world still live in extreme poverty. According to the World Bank’s Global Monitoring Report, extreme poverty rates have actually increased in Sub-Saharan Africa. The percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day in sub-Saharan Africa (41%) is more than twice as high as any other region (such as Southern Asia, with 17%) and the region continues to lag behind in meeting the global commitment on poverty reduction. More than half of those living in extreme poverty are women and girls—who account for six out of ten of the world’s poorest and two-thirds of the world’s illiterate. Women face significant barriers to their participation in the labor force in low- and middle-income countries and women—especially poor women—have less say over household decisions and less control over household resources.
On April 21, IPA, together with Vision 2030, the BOMA project and CGAP, co-hosted a Policy Forum that informed policy-makers and practitioners of the lessons learned from IPA’s evaluations and BOMA’s implementation of a gender focused Poverty Graduation Program in Northern Kenya. The proven success of the graduation approach has spurred governments and development agencies to expand the model to millions of people. Policy-makers from the Governments of South Sudan, Tanzania and Ethiopia were well represented with their countries piloting poverty graduation projects and preparing for massive scale up in Ethiopia.
The event was designed to be a dynamic platform for the exchange of information, ideas, innovations, and experiences in implementing Poverty Graduation Programs in the dry lands of Africa. Participants included high-level policymakers, government officials, practitioners, researchers and strategic partners at the regional and international levels, as well as funders, researchers, and innovators working toward the common goal of reducing extreme poverty in the drylands of Africa.