BRAC’s ‘Targeting the Ultra-Poor’ programme (TUP), which aims to help households escape extreme poverty by supporting women to set up their own small businesses, not only works but its benefits increase in the long term, according to new 7-year research led by researchers at the International Growth Centre (IGC), based at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
The program has benefitted 1.6 million households in Bangladesh by helping the very poorest women shift out of low paid and insecure work into running their own small businesses. It does this by providing them with large scale livestock assets alongside two years of complementary training.
Researchers found that four years after taking part in the programme, the women increase their annual earnings by 37 per cent. Seven years after the start of the programme, the increase in the women’s spending on non-durable goods, such as food, is 2.5 times larger than after four years. At the start of the programme, only 10 per cent of beneficiaries have access to renting or owning land– seven years later, this figure is nearly 40 per cent. Four years after the programme is implemented, there is an 8 percentage point decline in the number of households living on less than $1.25 per day. Households who benefit from the programme continue to climb out of poverty at a steady rate 7 years later/
The researchers compared the employment opportunities and choices of the women who participated in the BRAC programme with women across different wealth classes. They tracked over 21,000 households over seven years, including 6,700 ultra-poor households and 15,100 from other wealth classes.
Aspects of BRAC’s TUP programme have been replicated by other organisations across Africa, Asia and Latin America. In Pakistan, BRAC has successfully implemented the programme in district Lasbela of Balochistan. 1500 beneficiaries solely women received assets along with subsistence allowance, and support on essential health care and children’s education. Results showed improved earnings among beneficiaries after support from TUP. Moreover, in continuation to these efforts, BRAC with the financial support of PPAF and the Italian Govt is currently reaching out to 2500 ultra-poor families in Balochistan to improve their livelihood through integrated interventions in UC Sakran and Winder under the same programme.