"In education, we’ve learned that while some organizations in poor
countries give out free uniforms and others scholarships, in Kenya a
simple anti-parasite pill that kept children healthy enough to learn was
20 times as cost-effective as the uniforms, and 51 times as
cost-effective as scholarships. Our local teams tracked the children
into adulthood, and found that the children who received the
anti-parasite pills went on to earn over 20 percent higher wages as
adults than their peers who didn’t. In India and sub-Saharan Africa,
where governments are implementing these programs, over 95 million
children have now received the pills.
Yet poverty, and especially extreme poverty, is difficult to
eliminate. The poorest of the poor have more problems than just lacking a
regular income. Because they usually experience multiple challenges at
the same time, we decided to look at the Graduation approach.
Organizations employing this approach had been offering participants a 'productive asset' (an asset that generates income, such as livestock or
supplies to sell in a small store), training on how to use it,
healthcare to keep them healthy enough to work, a small amount of food
or money to support themselves while they learned to make a living (so
they didn’t have sell the asset immediately, merely to eat), access to a
savings account to build up a buffer for future emergencies, and weekly
coaching in areas like overcoming unexpected obstacles and meeting
their savings goals."
There is no easy way to deal with poverty, but trickle-up actually works.