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Global Health
July 21, 2015

Multipronged Approach Helps Alleviate Poverty

JAMA. 2015;314(3):216. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8119

A holistic strategy to alleviate poverty—called the Graduation Program—can help the world’s poorest households “graduate” from extreme poverty into sustainable standards of living, according to a recent study carried out by an international consortium (Banerjee A et al. Science. 2015;348[6236]:1260799).

From 2007 to 2014 the researchers tested this program, enrolling more than 20 000 participants in 6 countries—Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Pakistan, and Peru. They conducted randomized controlled trials in villages associated with extreme poverty (defined as living on US $1.25 a day or less). Within these villages, the researchers identified the poorest of the poor and assigned half the participants to the program and half to a control group. Participants in the program received a 1-time transfer of assets to generate income; skills training on how to manage the asset; food or cash support in times of emergency; coaching to reinforce skills, build confidence, and address challenges; access to a savings account; and for all but 1 site, access to health care, health education, or both.

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