BRAC PROPEL people out of extreme poverty

Jorina, living in Bangladesh, turned her life around with help from BRAC's Graduation approach.

BRAC PROPEL people out of extreme poverty

BRAC releases guidebook for organizations working to end extreme poverty

Today BRAC launches PROPEL, a how-to guide for organizations, microfinance institutions, governments and NGOs interested in implementing the ‘Graduation’ approach to help people out of extreme poverty and into sustainable livelihoods.

BRAC has 15 years of experience assisting the most marginalized people, particularly women, to get out of extreme poverty and into sustainable livelihoods with its tested, multi-faceted ‘Graduation’ approach that is now being replicated worldwide. In Bangladesh, 1.6 million women have graduated from the programme and are building sustainable futures for themselves.

Today BRAC launches the PROPEL toolkit, a step-by-step guide that breaks down the components of BRAC’s tested Graduation approach to help the poorest people out of extreme poverty. It offers tools, lessons, and shares best-practices learned during years of implementation and technical assistance.

Research by the London School of Economics shows that the programme has a high success rate. With access to self-employment options, participants’ earnings increase by 37 percent and continue on an upward trajectory even seven years after the programme has completed.

PROPEL contains valuable insights and learnings from peer organizations advising on and implementing the Graduation approach around the world.

“BRAC’s PROPEL guide to implementing the Graduation approach is a tremendous resource to governments, NGOs and MFIs who are serious about eradicating extreme poverty,” said Anne Hastings, former CEO of the Microfinance Working Group. “It unpacks the Graduation approach into discrete steps, and provides practitioners with valuable resources, tips, forms and tools to implement the approach.”

Achieving the United Nation’s first Sustainable Development Goal to end extreme poverty by 2030 will require tested interventions like Graduation, that are focused on reaching the extreme poor and can be scaled up to reach millions.

Learnings from Graduation have sizable implications for any institution looking to reach the extreme poor or the ultra-poor. Graduation can be a complement to national social protection or social safety-net programs, allowing governments to reach and uplift the most marginalized people.

Part of the programme’s success is due to its multi-faceted approach. Participants receive a productive asset: a cow or a goat, some seeds or chickens or goods to start a small shop or business. They also get a monthly stipend so that they have breathing room to develop their new assets. Twice monthly intensive mentorship visits help participants build their confidence and they acquire access to health services and support to send their children to school.

“The fact is that through training manuals and cross visits, BRAC was able to replicate their formulas with a normal set of people,” said Ester Duflo, Co-Founder and Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab and Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “That is very encouraging about the ability of such a programme to be scaled up. Someone mentioned earlier that we are at the proof of concept stage. In my view we are way past the proof of concept stage. This is a formula….what is does, it does well in several countries with several types of people and therefore we can be reasonably confident that this particular formula can be replicated.’

PROPEL helps implementers to design social protection programmes that have a dynamic, multidimensional understanding of poverty and vulnerability. Get it here and find out more about our technical assistance at the ultra-poor graduation website at

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