Hope, hybrid value chains, and graduating from poverty

Nicholas Kristof writes about how the realization that life can be better -- or the power of hope -- can transform a person, family and community. His recent New York Times column focuses on the findings of a large-scale randomized control trial involving 21,000 people in six countries; this trial looked at the impact of a type of aid package called a "graduation program."

Graduation programs (designed to help people graduate from poverty) give very poor families a significant boost that continues after the program ends. These programs can help the extreme poor establish sustainable self-employment activities and generate lasting improvements in their well-being. This program targets the poorest members in a village and provides a productive asset grant, training and support, life skills coaching, temporary cash consumption support, and typically access to savings accounts and health information or services.

Kristof quotes Sir Fazel Abed, who started the Bangladeshi aid group that developed the graduation program:

“Poverty is not just poverty of money or income. We also see a poverty of self-esteem, hope, opportunity and freedom. People trapped in a cycle of destitution often don’t realize their lives can be changed for the better through their own activities. Once they understand that, it’s like a light gets turned on.”

We like this kind of initiative; it's another form of the hybrid value chain partnerships that we develop with Maua and Bloom.

-- Clara Shen


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