BRAC releases guidebook for organizations working to end extreme poverty

Share Article

BRAC, an international non-governmental organization (NGO), launches PROPEL, a how-to guide for organizations, microfinance institutions, governments and NGOs interested in implementing the ‘Graduation’ approach to help people out of extreme poverty and into sustainable livelihoods.

Jorina BRAC TUP participant

Jorina, living in Bangladesh, turned her life around with help from BRAC's Graduation approach.

"BRAC’s PROPEL guide to implementing the Graduation approach is a tremendous resource to governments, NGOs and MFIs who are serious about eradicating extreme poverty," said Anne Hastings, former CEO of the Microfinance Working Group.

BRAC, formerly Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, has 15 years of experience assisting the most marginalized people, particularly women, to get out of extreme poverty and into sustainable livelihoods with its tested, multi-faceted ‘Graduation’ approach that is now being replicated worldwide. In Bangladesh, 1.6 million women have graduated from the program and are building sustainable futures for themselves.

BRAC is launching the PROPEL toolkit, which is a step-by-step guide that breaks down the components of BRAC’s tested Graduation approach to help the poorest people out of extreme poverty. It offers tools, lessons, and shares best-practices learned during the organization’s nearly fifteen years of implementation and technical assistance.

Research by the London School of Economics shows that the program has a high success rate. With access to self-employment options, participants’ earnings increase by 37 percent and continue on an upward trajectory even seven years after the program has completed.

PROPEL contains valuable insights and learnings from peer organizations advising on and implementing the Graduation approach around the world.

"BRAC’s PROPEL guide to implementing the Graduation approach is a tremendous resource to governments, NGOs and MFIs who are serious about eradicating extreme poverty," said Anne Hastings, former CEO of the Microfinance Working Group. "It unpacks the Graduation approach into discrete steps, and provides practitioners with valuable resources, tips, forms and tools to implement the approach."

Achieving the United Nation’s first Sustainable Development Goal to end extreme poverty by 2030 will require tested interventions like Graduation, that are focused on reaching the extreme poor and can be scaled up to reach millions.

Learnings from Graduation have sizable implications for any institution looking to reach the extreme poor or the ultra-poor. Graduation can be a complement to national social protection or social safety-net programs, allowing governments to reach and uplift the most marginalized people.

Part of the program’s success is due to its multi-faceted approach. Participants receive a productive asset: a cow or a goat, some seeds or chickens or goods to start a small shop or business. They also get a monthly stipend so that they have breathing room to develop their new assets. Twice monthly intensive mentorship visits help participants build their confidence and they acquire access to health services and support to send their children to school.

"The fact is that through training manuals and cross visits, BRAC was able to replicate their formulas with a normal set of people," said Ester Duflo, Co-Founder and Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab and Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "That is very encouraging about the ability of such a programme to be scaled up. Someone mentioned earlier that we are at the proof of concept stage. In my view we are way past the proof of concept stage. This is a formula….what is does, it does well in several countries with several types of people and therefore we can be reasonably confident that this particular formula can be replicated.’

PROPEL helps implementers to design social protection programmes that have a dynamic, multidimensional understanding of poverty and vulnerability.


BRAC, an and international development organization founded in Bangladesh in 1972, is a global leader in creating programs at scale that provide a means to end poverty. With more than 115,000 employees, it is the world's largest non-governmental organization, touching the lives of an estimated 135 million people in 12 countries using a wide array of antipoverty tools including microfinance, education, healthcare, legal rights training and more. Learn more at


To support other organisations to implement Graduation programmes, BRAC have created a suite of services to smooth adoption challenges and a comprehensive set of tools for programme success. BRAC staff can provide cost-efficient technical assistance and advisory services, which includes programme planning and design, on-site training and data management support to help Graduation programmes take hold in new regions. We are able to provide technical assistance and advisory services throughout the process of planning, designing, and implementing a Graduation programme and thereafter. Contact ultrapoorgraduation(at)bracusa(dot)org to receive your copy of PROPEL. Visit to find out more.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Emily Coppel
+1 (212) 808-5615
Email >
Visit website