How can we make graduation programmes work for children?

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Keetie Roelen
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How can we make graduation programmes work for children?

Post by Keetie Roelen » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:25 pm

Graduation programmes present a new wave of comprehensive anti-poverty and social protection programmes that are targeted at extremely poor households. They provide a sequenced package of support, including cash transfers, asset transfers, access to savings and credit, training and coaching. They are now being implemented in more than 43 low and middle-income countries around the world.

Evaluations indicate that programmes improve household living standards, asset holdings and food security. However, the extent to which children stand to benefit from these programmes is not entirely clear. The rise in economic resources and living standards can improve outcomes for children, including in nutrition, health and nutrition. However, the increase in work activities – particularly for mothers – also means that children may not receive as much or high quality care.

At IDS, we just finalized research on Fonkoze’s CLM programme in Haiti : https://www.ids.ac.uk/projects/pathwa ... -in-haiti/. The research sheds light on the role of graduation programmes in the lives of young children whose mothers are participating in the programme. The programme proves powerful in helping mothers and other caregivers to meet their children’s basic needs, most notably food, clean drinking water, and shelter. Caregivers are also equipped with greater knowledge about sanitation and feeding practices. Notwithstanding these positive effects, the role of the programme in affecting change in other areas that are crucial for child development, namely early learning and responsive caregiving, is limited. Participation in the programme also constrains caregivers’ – and particularly women’s – opportunities for supporting positive outcomes in these and other areas of child wellbeing. Programme participation affords women with a sense of purpose and economic agency but also adds to their responsibilities and demands on their time in terms of setting up income-generating activities and attending trainings and coaching sessions. This leads to an impossible balancing act. In the absence of strong support networks and child care options, women with babies and infants are forced to choose between leaving their children on their own or in care of young siblings or foregoing economic opportunities. This limits women’s opportunities to benefit from the programme and undermines its positive effects on children.

This leads to the question: How can graduation programmes be designed and implemented to really benefit children, and particularly infants who are highly dependent on their caregivers?

I would love to hear Insights and suggestions from experiences in graduation programmes or other forms of programming for children from across the globe!

Vanessa Self

Re: How can we make graduation programmes work for children?

Post by Vanessa Self » Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:09 am

Great discussion topic! At Save the Children we are increasingly interested in how graduation programming can lead to outcomes for children. Our experience of the SHIREE programme in Bangladesh shows that it can lead to positive changes particularly linked to nutrition, but we need to do more to design and monitor our programmes with a child focus. We also need to learn from which households don't graduate (or sustain their graduation level) and why. https://resourcecentre.savethechildren. ... -programme

We would also love to hear more about others' experience of graduation programming and children.

Deb Ingersoll

Re: How can we make graduation programmes work for children?

Post by Deb Ingersoll » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:55 am

World Vision recently completed the design and release of new operational guidance for our graduation programming in collaboration with BRAC. A central component of this work is a focus on new minimum standards guidance which provides the basis for adaptation of graduation across a variety of contexts. While we've just begun our journey in earnest, one of our main targeting criteria is most vulnerable children in the household so we are eager to learn from others' experience and are happy to share lessons learned and best practices as we scale up.

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