Originally published by Chris Pain on the CGAP blog
One of the key questions we have to ask about Graduation Programs is do we know whether the benefits accruing to program participants are sustainable once the comprehensive support package ends. Concern Worldwide and Fonkoze enrolled 150 participants on a pilot of the Chemen Lavi Miyo program in three locations in Haiti in June 2007, a baseline survey collecting data on a series of assets in the form of a poverty scorecard was conducted at that time, and was repeated six months after the participant’s graduation from the program (in June 2009). The results from the two rounds of data collected showed that virtually all (98.7 per cent of participants) had recorded a better score on the measure of household assets (unfortunately no control or comparison group was included so it is not clear that this improvement can be attributed to the intervention on its own).
More than three years later (in September 2012), the two organizations felt it was the right time to ask whether the households included on the program had managed to maintain this forward momentum. A sample of those included on the original program was revisited and the same set of questions around asset ownership was asked. The results showed that while the mean value recorded on the poverty scorecard (on a scale of 0 to 42.5) had increased from 7.2 at baseline to 16.6 at graduation, it had fallen back slightly to 14.2 in 2012. However, this still meant that 96.2% % of women included in the program were better off almost four years after their direct involvement in the program had ceased than they were at the start of the program.
Looking behind the mean scores also tells an interesting story: 31.2 per cent of those included on the program continued to improve their score after graduation, 39.0 per cent saw no change, or have slipped back slightly, but 29.9 per cent have seen a considerable decline on their asset score since Graduation. These results suggest the need for continued monitoring of those reached by the program after they have graduated, and underline the need for access amongst this group of the extreme poor to more structured, long term, national social protection strategy than can be offered by any program such as this.
Chris Pain is Head of Social and Economic Development at Concern WorldWide.