By Md. Akram Hosain | Branch Manager, Kazirhat, Satkhira, Ultra-Poor Graduation (UPG) program; Upoma Mahbub | Advocacy Manager, BRAC Ultra-Poor Graduation Programme; & Elaina Conrad | Associate, Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative

On May 20, 2020, super Cyclone Amphan tore through the coastal regions of southern Bangladesh. Sufia emerged from the safety of a cyclone shelter with her husband only to find their home destroyed by a fallen tree. Seeing the damage, she broke down into tears.

“We were already facing hardship to manage everyday food,” she said. “Now where would we stay with our cattle? …


When Marlowe Popes joined the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative in 2017 as BRAC Field Manager for the DOLE Graduation pilot, he never imagined he’d be guiding his team and almost two thousand project participants through a pandemic.

When one of the world’s longest running lockdowns began in the Philippines due to COVID-19, Marlowe’s team was tasked with ensuring the project’s 1,800 participants developed sustainable livelihoods and carved pathways out of extreme poverty when the project ended amidst one of our lifetime’s greatest shocks.

Despite the various challenges the lockdown created, the project closed with incredible results and countless stories of women…


by Jake Konig | Content Development Associate, BRAC Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative

March 2021 is a time to reflect. One year ago this month, the world as we know it changed. Fundamental patterns of life taken for granted were suddenly removed from the fabric of our collective realities — classrooms, offices, sporting events, transit hubs, and all else that seemed to be normal components of a global society, fell into an eerie silence as we quickly entered into the “new normal.”

Although these changes were felt worldwide, it would be inaccurate to say that all were impacted equally. The devastating effects…


by Elaina Conrad | Communications Associate, Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative

As we pass the year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we face the devastating impacts this pandemic has had on the most poor and vulnerable populations around the world. The pandemic has pushed millions more into extreme poverty, with women and girls at heightened risk of extreme poverty and other challenges such as learning poverty. Combatting these staggering impacts requires evidence-based solutions and global cooperation. …


By Elaina Conrad | Communications Associate, BRAC UPGI & Jake Konig | Content Development Associate, BRAC UPGI

On this International Women’s Day, we face the overwhelming impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on progress toward global gender equality. Women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, losing their livelihoods at a higher rate than men and bear a greater burden of unpaid care work. Girls are dropping out of school at higher rates due to economic pressure from lockdowns and are being forced into child marriage and child labor.

Now more than ever, the world needs evidence-based approaches to address…


by Jasveen Bindra | Technical Advisor, UPGI & Bobby Irven | Communications Officer, UPGI

Poverty is created by barriers. The barriers that reinforce poverty are multidimensional but often tied to an individual’s inability to access the resources and tools needed to overcome the circumstances that keep them trapped. We at BRAC believe every person has the right to meet their basic needs. …


By Rozina Haque | Program Head, BRAC Ultra-Poor Graduation program

The launch of the World Bank’s State of Economic Inclusion Report 2021 provides a timely opportunity to reflect on the integral role learning and adaptation has played in BRAC’s programming, particularly on the success of the Ultra-Poor Graduation program (UPG) in Bangladesh (detailed in a newly released case study). Building programs that not only combat the pervasive nature of poverty, but also meet the long-term needs of the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized communities is something we are committed to achieving. Since the founding of BRAC in 1972, adaptation based…


By Isabel Whisson | Special Assistant for Strategy, BRAC UPGI

This month BRAC is excited to welcome the publication of the World Bank Partnership for Economic Inclusion’s flagship State of Economic Inclusion 2021 report. Among a rich collection of data and insight from economic inclusion programs around the world, the report features a case study on BRAC’s Ultra-Poor Graduation program (UPG) in Bangladesh. The program, which was established in 2002, and recorded significant and sustained program impacts on earnings, consumption, and savings, has continuously evolved, while scaling nationwide to over 2 million households. …


by Bobby Irven, Communications Officer | BRAC Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative

When researchers and academia look at the impact of gender-focused development interventions, the focus is usually put on economic indicators and market outcomes. What is often overlooked, likely because it is so hard to measure, is the long-term impacts on women’s empowerment and the barriers broken down because of it. While Graduation programs vary in their design, targeting, and length, it has become clear in recent years that this holistic approach to poverty alleviation is highly effective, providing long-term, sustainable impacts to both the female participants of the programs, and…


By Nazia Moqueet, Senior Technical Advisor & Caitlin O’Donnell, Technical Advisor | BRAC Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative

Regular coaching and mentorship is one of the cornerstones of BRAC’s Graduation approach. In times of crises, coaching plays an even greater role in ensuring that households living in extreme poverty have the support, guidance, and encouragement they need to succeed.

“Coaching done well may be the most effective intervention designed for human performance.” -Atul Gawande

For those who have had the opportunity to attend school, play a sport, or have a close-knit family, one might not even realise it, but coaching and mentorship…

BRAC Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative

Breaking the cycle of extreme poverty by providing a pathway out of persistent uncertainty and destitution through our Graduation programs.

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