Graduation from Extreme Poverty
The immediate aim of EEP/shiree was to assist beneficiaries to lift themselves out of extreme poverty, or to help them to “graduate” from extreme poverty. Notwithstanding the conceptual difficulties associated with measuring graduation, Shiree’s project logframe and contractual commitment to donors specifies a target graduation percentage rising to 75% for later cohorts. Hence the project aims to graduate 818,000 people from extreme poverty by March 2016.
“Graduation is generally understood to mean the exit of an individual/household from extreme poverty by passing above a certain extreme poverty line or threshold. ‘Sustainable graduation’ is where this is combined with a strong probability that the individual/household will not fall below this line again in the future” (Sabates-Wheeler and Devereux, 2011)
The shiree programme faces a major challenge, working with the poorest segment of Bangladeshi society, to assist them to take steps out of extreme poverty, and furthermore to verify that they have crossed over from being extreme poor to being moderately poor, or even not poor at all, in a sustainable manner.
Given the chronic and multi-dimensional nature of the poverty affecting many shiree beneficiaries the issue is not simply one of economic empowerment but spans a range of social, economic and political dimensions.
Shiree Multidimensional Graduation Index
A specific graduation target was first imposed after the commencement of the EEP/Shiree programme., there being no specific definition of graduation of graduation target in the original logframe. Hence it was necessary to first establish what ‘graduation’ means for extreme poor people in Bangladesh and then to design interventions helping them achieve graduation within the limited funds and timeframe available. The programme graduation has been developed over time through analyses of quantitative and qualitative data with the most recent iteration relying on a multi-dimensional checklist across a range of key socio economic indicators. The headline shiree graduation statistic is measured via the CMS 3 survey, an annual panel survey using a statistically significant sample of beneficiaries to measure change across a number of criteria. The graduation line constitutes an index of multi-dimensional indicators (e.g. income, food security, health, etc) from which a household is deemed ‘graduated’ if it meets a set number (which differs according to rural and urban settings). The results from the panel surveys show a huge increase in graduation rates across the programme, with differing rates for different projects.
The EEP/shiree multidimensional Graduation index is used in order to:
- Ascertain a set of graduates and non-graduates, and assume that non-graduates have fallen further behind and require extra support
- Evaluate which interventions work best in different regions and contexts
- Examine short-comings in interventions (e.g. gender empowerment)
- Report overall graduation figures to DFID
- Monitor Sustainability or resilience – the ability of households to stay above the defined Graduation threshold
- Give practical meaning to the concept of extreme poverty eradication (= 100% graduation)
Partners at Cambridge use the CMS 3 data to produce the annual Graduation Results that were reported to DFID. The most recent report and brief are available here:
Archived reports and briefs can be found here:
- 2015 Graduation Report
- 2014 Graduation Report
- 2013 Graduation Report
- 2015 Graduation Brief
- 2014 Graduation Brief
Other information on Graduation
Additional reports pertinent to the concept of Graduation and its use on EEP can be found below, alongside information on how EEP aimed to use mobile surveys to identify households in need of graduation support:
Factors Affecting graduation from Extreme Poverty (September 2016) (this paper should be read in conjuction with the Working Paper on Resilience among the Extreme Poor)
Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of Graduation between March 2010 – March 2013 (April 2014)
Proposal to Measuring Graduation – January 2013
Three Ways of Measuring Graduation Rates in Shiree November 2012
Sustainable Graduation within Shiree Portfolio – April 2012
Graduation Enhancement Strategy
In the context of a global agenda firmly shifting to the total eradication of extreme poverty, the imperatives arising from acceptance of the ‘leave no-one behind’ objective (meaning no ‘write-offs’) include knowing when someone is out of extreme poverty and above the graduation threshold. This means that if we know the individual person or household that is failing to prosper and is falling behind, projects can intervene and provide extra targeted support.
This is what Shiree terms a ‘Graduation Enhancement Strategy’, one that seeks to improve graduation rates. To achieve this one needs to know the status of all beneficiaries engaged with the graduation project,
Four Pillars of Graduation Enhancement Strategy:
- A dataset that provides continuously updated data at census level about every household.
- A visualisation tool through which this data can be easily accessed and information gleaned about the changes that are happening.
- A set of appropriate interventions to address the situation of individual households (or perhaps entire communities) by assessing what negative impacts and constraints exist.
- The resources needed in order to provide supplemental support for households that have been identified as failing to prosper enabling a targeted recovery plan intended to reverse this deterioration and move the household towards graduation.
Shiree has dealt with the challenge of handling diversity at scale using mobile phones and adopting near real-time monitoring to attempt to maximize graduation within an extreme poverty challenge fund programme. At the core of this operation is the Change Monitoring System-2 (CMS-2), a real time mobile phone based monitoring system, through which the Shiree project partners have been monitoring over 100,000 households every month across Bangladesh and accessing this information through an online visualisation dashboard that is updated in real time. CMS-2 allows Shiree and its partners the unique ability to track the change of household conditions every month, across NGOs and contexts and enable the identification of households that are failing to prosper or who may have encountered a sudden shock. This then allows the development of recovery plans backed up by supplementary resources to struggling households. Furthermore the dataset and visualisation also enable easy identification of success stories (“super graduates”) and the potential to learn from, and perhaps replicate this success.
Click here to read the paper presented at the Social Protection Conference in Rwanda – Managing Diversity at Scale: the role of real time monitoring in implementing a graduation targeted challenge fund
Real Time Monitoring and Graduation Enhancement
Achieving Graduation from Extreme Poverty in an Operational Context
Graduation Monitoring System (GMS)
The GMS is a one-off assessment utilising smart phone capacity.
The GMS objectives are:
- To ‘bank’ the graduates who no longer need monthly monitoring via CMS-2
- To ascertain who are the graduates and non-graduates.
- To target supplementary top-up support (financial and non-financial) to non-graduates and carry on monitoring them via CMS-2
- Use census level Graduation reporting as validation against the CMS-3 (sample) Graduation figures
Click here to see the GMS checklist (Urban and Rural)