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Social Development and Poverty

Despite the extraordinary gains made in living standards, hundreds of millions are still excluded from the benefits of rapid economic growth. ADB envisions an Asia and Pacific that is inclusive, where the region's gains and opportunities are shared by all.

Graduation Approach

Professor with her students at the pneumatics lab of Batam State Polytechnic.
Professor with her students at the pneumatics lab of Batam State Polytechnic.

The graduation approach is an innovative, holistic and proven approach to addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequality, Strategy 2030's first operational priority. Combining targeted social assistance with technical and life skills training, financial inclusion, and coaching and mentoring, the comprehensive set of sequenced interventions called the graduation approach includes a productive asset transfer, temporary cash transfers, technical training, home visits for coaching and support, access to a savings account, behavior change communication, and referral to health services.

The term “graduation” is often misunderstood. It does not refer to reaching a monetary threshold such as a national or international poverty line. Rather, the graduation approach takes a multidimensional view of poverty. “Graduation” is always context-specific and implies reaching a situation where a household has an economically viable livelihood, is food secure, and is connected to essential services.

Professor gets his freshman students acquainted with aircraft engines at the mock hangar of Batam State Polytechnic, as part of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Program.
Professor gets his freshman students acquainted with aircraft engines at the mock hangar of Batam State Polytechnic, as part of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Program.

Also called cash plus programming, economic inclusion, or social protection for employment, the graduation approach promotes economic opportunities and social inclusion to give the poor and vulnerable a big push toward sustainable livelihoods and resilience.

Governments, nongovernmental organizations, and research institutes have implemented nearly 100 graduation-type programs in 43 countries, with ample evidence of their effectiveness.

ADB is financing ongoing initiatives in Pakistan and the Philippines, and will also test it in the context of a large-scale resettlement and income restoration effort.

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