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.
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.
ADB's Karin Schelzig provides a brief introduction to the Graduation Approach for poverty reduction.