Ultra Poor Graduation Pilot in Yemen
Can ultra poor households in Yemen graduate from extreme poverty with help from a holistic set of services? This 24-month program provides beneficiaries with a holistic set of services including: livelihood trainings, productive asset transfers, consumption support, savings plans, and healthcare. By investing in this multifaceted approach, the program strives to eliminate the need for long-term safety net services. Spanning seven countries on three continents, the Ultra Poor Graduation program is being piloted around the globe. IPA is conducting randomized evaluations in India, Pakistan, Honduras, Peru, Ethiopia, Yemen, and Ghana to understand the impact of this innovative model.
Governments have often attempted to address the needs of the ultra poor by offering consumption support that is costly and offers no clear pathway out of food insecurity. The Ultra Poor Graduation Pilots attempt to apply a model, developed by BRAC in Bangladesh, which recognizes that the ultra poor need the "breathing space" that is provided by temporary consumption support, but that public funds may be better used to build households’ capacities to maintain a sustainable livelihood. The idea is that this initial assistance, lasting two years, will place households securely on the first rung of the development ladder, which they can then climb with the help of appropriate development strategies. The model incorporates a comprehensive package of services: a productive asset (such as chickens or goats), consumption support, livelihood trainings, healthcare, and financial services. Ideally this wide set of support services will help households to weather any shocks they may face along during their climb out of ultra poverty.
This project is a part of a set of evaluations, in partnership with CGAP and the Ford Foundation, that intends to determine whether the model, pioneered in Bangladesh, is effective in a range of contexts.
Located on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen faces economic challenges. Food insecurity, aggravated by a scare supply of water, leaves 32 percent of the country undernourished . Over 45 percent of the population lives under $2 US a day and about 17 percent lives under $ 1.25 US a day . The Social Welfare Fund (SWF), the Yemeni welfare department, and the Social Fund for Development (SFD), a government-run development agency, have partnered with IPA to pilot the Graduation Model in three governorates of southern Yemen.
The Graduation Model in Yemen works in accord with the SWF welfare system. All households in the sample frame come from the SWF welfare lists and receive an average quarterly stipend of 3,000 YR ($15 US). The poorest households are identified using the Progress Out of Poverty Index and are verified as the poorest during SWF field officer visits. These households are then randomly assigned to either a treatment or comparison group. Beneficiaries in treatment households receive training on an income generating activity such as, sewing, raising livestock, or petty trading. As households’ income and food consumption stabilizes, beneficiaries are required to open a savings account at the local post office and are encouraged to reach a savings goal of 10,750 YR (about $ 50US) by the end of the two year program. In addition, these ultra poor households are monitored throughout the program with weekly visits from field officers and receive additional trainings on confidence building, social integration, and sanitation practices.
For additional information on the Ultra Poor Graduation Pilots, click here.