Supporting Sustainable Livelihoods

Development programs often help a community advance, but leave behind the very poorest. These are precisely the people that Beyond Borders wants to reach.

To do so, we are using an approach proven to help the very poorest families lift themselves out of extreme poverty and stay out: the Graduation Model. This asset-building approach was pioneered in Bangladesh and first introduced to Haiti in 2008 by Fonkoze, the country’s largest microfinance lender.

What is special about the Graduation Model is the close accompaniment, the human relationship aspect of it, which is essential for success. Many of the families selected are isolated from their community, in part because of their extreme poverty. They feel alone, so the close accompaniment and relationship-building helps to end their isolation.

What We Do:

In 18 months time, a family once experiencing destitution and dependence, is able to live independently and with dignity, keep their children at home, and enrol them in a quality, nearby school.

In addition to basic home repairs – including the construction of a sanitary latrine — the Graduation Model includes six components proven to help people lift themselves out of extreme poverty. 

They are:

  • Assets to make a living with, for example, goats, mules or other livestock, or goods to start an informal store.
  • Training on how to manage the new assets.
  • Initial cash support to reduce the need to sell the new asset in an emergency.
  • Weekly coaching visits to reinforce skills, build confidence and help participants handle any challenges.
  • Health education and access to healthcare to stay healthy and able to work.
  • A savings account to help save money to invest or use in a future emergency.