Home » World » What’s best at fighting extreme poverty: cash or ultra-poor graduation?

What’s best at fighting extreme poverty: cash or ultra-poor graduation?

What’s best at fighting extreme poverty: cash or ultra-poor graduation?

If you want to fight poverty, you probably intuitively feel that the worst-off people are the ones who should be prioritized. As difficult as it is to live on a few bucks a day, someone who’s living on just $1.90 a day clearly has it worse, and it makes sense to think you should try extra hard to help the poorest of the poor.

It’s a big moral problem, then, that a lot of anti-poverty programs fail to successfully do that.

That problem has bothered Shameran Abed since the 1990s. Back then, he was working on voguish anti-poverty programs with the international development organization he directs from Bangladesh, known as BRAC. Microfinance was all the rage then, but it was becoming clear that microloans weren’t reaching the poorest households. Nobody wanted to lend to them because who knew if they could pay back the loan? And the poorest households often didn’t want to borrow because they weren’t confident that they could figure out how to turn a profit and repay.

Like many other charities, BRAC had also been distributing food to very vulnerable households. But Abed grew disenchanted with the model of simply giving away food, or even giving away money via cash transfers.

See also  Summer Savings: This 32-Inch Insignia LED HD Smart Fire TV Is On Sale For $99

“It’s very important, but not transformative,” Abed told me. “You’re keeping people alive, you’re helping them to survive to the next day, but you’re not helping them move out of that situation. They’re going to need you to come back again and again.”

To put it in terms of a classic slogan: You’re giving them a fish, but you’re not teaching them how to fish.

Abed and his team decided they needed to try something new if they wanted to lastingly improve life for the worst-off — the “ultra-poor,” as they put it. So in the early 2000s, they went into…

Read full article on www.vox.com