Tackling extreme poverty in Uganda
BRAC’s dedication to empowering ultra-poor people to “climb” out of poverty has a long and highly successful history. Between 2016 and 2019, we supported the replication and adaptation of BRAC’s 24-month comprehensive livelihood programme in Uganda. Providing a combination of productive assets, enterprise development and life skills training, as well as essential healthcare services and education, BRAC successfully helped 1,650 ultra-poor young people move from extreme poverty to a more sustainable and stable trajectory. This has resulted in a verifiable increase in income and consumption, assets, food security and health for themselves and their families (8,250 people in total).
There is no single cause of poverty, hence BRAC‘s globally-recognized graduation programme tackles it on multiple fronts. It provides the poorest members of a village – who normally face a multitude of interconnected, cyclical problems – with productive assets, a temporary stipend to support daily consumption, enterprise development, saving plans and life skills coaching, together with essential healthcare services and education. This combination of supports, knowledge and skills, delivered over 24-months, helps individuals and households move from extreme poverty to a more sustainable and stable trajectory.
Nearly 1,500 individuals who did not previously have any reliable source of income successfully “graduated” out of poverty, securing a verifiable increase in income and consumption, assets, food security and health for themselves and their families. Thanks to the programme, poverty levels have dropped significantly in the Luwero district in particular, reducing the percentage of the population living below the poverty line from 18% (92,000) to 16% (81,920).
To “graduate”, participants had to have at least two different productive assets they could rely on, be involved in saving practices, be able to afford two nutritious meals a day and to actively respect personal hygiene and sanitary practices, while also having improved their shelters and enhanced their social integration.
Supporting young people to save is a core part of BRAC’s graduation model. Financial training gives participants the knowledge and tools to manage money and plan for the future: 100 Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) were established, enabling participants to increase their saving by 56.7%.
We are continuing to support BRAC in Uganda, where the organisation is piloting a disability-inclusive ultra-poor graduation programme in partnership with Humanity & Inclusion and the National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda.
“We’re changing mind sets, habits and behaviour: the way people eat and bath, the way they see their lives, the way they take care of their children and of their couples. When I see the positive changes we’ve triggered in their lives, I’m overwhelmed with joy.”
“I finally had the time to think, to plan ahead, to make decisions. I used to be worried all the time. I felt like I was slowly drowning and couldn’t find a way out of the water.”
“With this money I’m finally going to build a big house. I’m making bricks for it myself. I really want to have a healthy life, with no worries. A good life is when you can spend your time taking care of your animals, farming your plot of land and eating every day. A good life is when you are not afraid of losing everything.”