Evidence from multiple contexts suggests that the Graduation Approach, which provides holistic livelihood support for ultra-poor households, has lasting positive impacts on a range of outcomes. However, graduation programs are relatively expensive because of the intense level of support they offer. The costs pose a challenge for governments that want to implement the approach at scale.

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Displaced migrants who settle in new countries may encounter numerous barriers to accessing host country programs that could potentially provide helpful relief and accommodation for them. These barriers include low awareness of the program, distrust in the government, and registration bottlenecks. In Colombia, Venezuelan migrants face these barriers when registering for a migrant regularization program that grants them access to labor markets and social services.

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Widespread adoption of social distancing can help communities and countries slow the spread of COVID-19.

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Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be an effective mental health approach for people living in poverty, who are especially vulnerable to mental distress and face unique demands on their mental “bandwidth.” Researchers worked with Innovations for Poverty Action and the University of Ghana Medical School to design, implement, and conduct a randomized evaluation of the impacts of a group CBT curriculum on low-income individuals in rural Ghana.

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Young people living in urban slums face several challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying lockouts. As part of the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) study, researchers conducted three rounds of surveys among 780 adolescent boys and girls in three urban slums in Bangladesh. The results showed an increased involvement of out-of-school adolescents in paid work during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those from poor households.

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Nutrition-Focused Livelihoods Program

Almost half of all deaths of children under five years of age are attributable to malnutrition, and despite the decline in numbers, progress continues to be very slow. In Burkina Faso researchers evaluated whether a nutrition-focused livelihoods program consisting of a cash transfer, productive asset, and nutrition intervention can impact child nutrition, household income, and assets.

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Access to quality jobs is a pressing concern in sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, researchers partnered with the technology company Sama and Innovations for Poverty Action to conduct a randomized evaluation of Sama’s training and job referral programs. The training program provided youth from underserved communities with digital training, while the referral program provided trainees with a job referral to work with the company.

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Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are severely limited by regulations outlawing formal work, in addition to movement restrictions that limit access to nearby informal work, potentially contributing to poor mental health outcomes. This randomized evaluation examined the effects of employment on psychosocial wellbeing and found that employment delivers significant psychosocial wellbeing, particularly among men.

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How do cash transfers support newly-designated vulnerable populations and informal workers during an economic crisis? To help answer these questions, researchers studied  the effect of Ingreso Solidario (Solidarity Income), a new unconditional cash transfer in Colombia that was launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In rural Bangladesh, women living in extreme poverty face barriers to engaging in work that provides higher returns, such as livestock rearing. Researchers partnered with BRAC to evaluate their multi-faceted livelihood program known as the Graduation Approach, which aims to encourage occupational change among these women.

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Without special attention to creating economic opportunities for ex-combatants, they may be more likely to join rebellious groups, commit crime, and otherwise threaten political stability. In Liberia, researchers tested the effect of an intensive agricultural training program that also provided agricultural supplies and psychosocial counseling on employment activities, income, and socio-political integration.

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Since March 2020, a team of researchers1 has been providing technical assistance to the Government of Togo to help guide their humanitarian response to the COVID-19 crisis. This page provides a short, non-technical summary of those efforts.

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A body of research supports cash transfers as a way to improve the lives of vulnerable and poor populations, but few studies have examined how the impacts change over time. In addition, poor rural households face institutional and market obstacles, and transfers alone may not be enough to overcome these barriers.

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Ugandan women in the IPA WINGS program

Poverty is a staggering problem, with 46 percent of the world’s population living on less than 5.50 USD per day. Research shows that individuals experiencing poverty can leverage investments to increase their self-employment activities and improve their livelihoods  but often lack access to credit and insurance, thereby limiting their potential to benefit from investment opportunities.

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To what extent do cash transfers cushion the blow to poor families during hard times? Taking advantage of a pre-existing large-scale evaluation of a universal basic income project in Kenya, researchers measured how different types of cash transfers impact recipients’ income, reported well-being, food security, mental health, and social interaction in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying agricultural seasonality.

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