4000 UP women benefited

Graduation Approach for Promotion of Ultra Poor

LEADS aims at understanding the dynamic process for reducing poverty by tracking the household and village economies continuously. We have worked for community engagement for sustainable livelihoods and financial inclusion of the very poor and ultra poor people living in remote areas of Jharkhand. The intervention aims to help evolve appropriate and effective strategies for reduction of poverty and linkage with various government services under financial inclusion. We have facilitated formation of more than 270 self-help groups (SHG) and helped in financial inclusion of over 4000 women of around 70 villages.  We have also strengthened the capacity of community-based organisations to economically and financially empower ultra-poor women. This has helped to empower these women and their households to build sustainable livelihoods and overcome extreme poverty using Graduation Approach.

The Graduation Approach is a sequenced, multi-sector intervention that supports the poorest and most vulnerable households to achieve sustained income and move out of extreme poverty within a specified period.

Firstly, the field workers from the community based partners visit each household to identify and select participant who will benefit most from the programs. The process is done using PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) & PAT (Participant Assessment Tool). These families living in extreme poverty must often prioritize short-term needs, like finding their next meal, over long-term investments in income-generating activities. So secondly, some consumption support in form of small stipends is provided to them to stabilize their families in the beginning.

Thirdly, the women and their families are helped through regular livelihood coaching & training to help themdecide which activity best suits their goals, existing skills, and assets. Apart from experiential training in their chosen activity, they are provided a risk-free seed capital grant to start their activity. Throughout the program, women receive continuous training and coaching on how to grow their business and access government programs that may benefit them. Depending on the local context, activities may include agriculture, livestock rearing, or shop-keeping, among others.

Living in extreme poverty often means women lack financial education and access to financial tools and face social isolation and marginalization in communities. That is why, when they join the program, they’re organized into savings and credit groups of around 15-25 members each. They gather to pool their savings, access loans for emergencies or productive investments and learn financial skills.

Finally after 18-36 months, women and their families report achieving higher and steadier income, being able to put more and higher-quality food on the table, sending children to school, and making improvements to their homes like adding sturdier roofs and floors. Having achieved success, or say, Graduating at one livelihood, many women start one or two more to earn even greater incomes and become more resilient.

Throughout the process, LEADS help them find avenues for their support & linkages to enhance the livelihood plan. Regular Monitoring by the LEADS Central Team, feedback and customization of the program is done for getting the optimum benefits for the communities.


The Ultra Poor Promotion Plan has resulted in empowering these marginalized families to indulge in various income-generating activities. This has improved their socio-economic status, thereby contributing in better social acceptance within their community. The impact and achievement so far can be summarized as follows:

  • More than 270 of Women SHG formed and over 4000 participants reached under ultra poor & very poor category
  • Over 1000 ultra poor participants started diversified livelihood & 1000 have individual bank account and access to bank.
  • 3072 very poor participants have bank account and are linked  with one Govt. insurance (PMSBY) scheme
  • Two villages undertaken by KVK who will be provided agricultural support till 2022.
  • 1000 ultra poor participants are linked with Ayushman Bharat Yojana.
  • 550 ultra poor participants linked with PMSBY insurance scheme.
  • The female farmers are practicing organic farming using organic pesticides, insecticides and manure to ensure a nutritious diet and good health
  • Financially sound and motivated parents can now spend some part of their income on their children education
  • Some of the ultra poor participants even opened small shop after this intervention
  • Participants  benefited under convergence activities , such as agricultural seeds and fruit plants are provided from KVK & ATMA
  • A few bank camps were organised at village level, having presence of the leading banks, NABARD & other government officials

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