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Theory of Change 1. Contextual Analysis The 2010 Bangladesh Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) reported 17.6% of the population as falling below the lower poverty line. That is over 28 million people. Perhaps three quarters of these are chronically poor in that their poverty is not only severe but also multi-dimensional and long lasting1. These people are not only income poor, but face chronic deficits in the realms of food security, health, nutrition, education, physical security, housing, vulnerability to shocks, social empowerment and access to rights. This depth and breadth of poverty is passed across the generations through economic (eg lack of assets), physical (eg poor nutrition) and social transmission mechanisms, with the latter including strong gender dimensions and the exclusion of marginalised groups. Extreme poverty is present throughout Bangladesh but is particularly prevalent in 5 regions where the Economic Empowerment of the Poorest Programme (commonly known as the shiree programme, meaning steps in Bangla) has been active since 2009. These 5 regions are the Chittagong Hill Tractspolitically and economically marginalised, the NE Haors region- remote with isolated villages flooded for 6 months, the North Western Region – prone to seasonal hunger or “monga” and periodic drought, the Southern Coastal Belt - extremely vulnerable to climatic shocks including cyclones and tidal surges, plus Dhaka urban slums and streets.

5 Cases 32 year old man living in Kurigram District. Married with 4 children. Engaged in sporadic day labour. 40 year old married man living in seasonally flooded Haor region. Adult children. Isolated by floods during rainy season. Seasonal migration for work. 23 year old physically disabled man, living in Dhaka slum with wife. Begs for income. 60 year old widow belonging to isolated indigenous community in remote Chittagong Hill Tracts. 17 year old girl living in climate change affected Satkhira District. Recently married, working as domestic maid.

Despite being disaster prone, facing severe political disruption and suffering endemically poor governance and corruption, the Bangladesh economy continues to exhibit strong macro-economic growth with resultant reductions in aggregate poverty. A key contextual feature is that strong growth alone will not be sufficient to eradicate extreme poverty given the chronic nature of the situation faced by these and many millions of other cases. Purposive programmes targeted at the extreme poor are needed. 1

See Andrew Shepard, Chronic Poverty Research Centre – Addressing Chronic Poverty 2013


2. A Set of Primary Assumptions First Assumption: Latency to escape from poverty: there are no lost causes! Despite the severity and multi-dimensional nature of their poverty, all extreme poor households have the latent potential to graduate from extreme poverty. Evidence: Global History provides evidence over sufficiently long periods of time as there are countries that have successfully defeated or close to defeated extreme poverty in concert with transition to middle or high income status. What is less clear is whether permanent exit from extreme poverty can be achieved for the most chronically poor households within the lifetime of a, typically 3 year, livelihood support project operating in a country that has yet to transition to even middle income status. However there are sufficient case studies of dramatic transformation in the lives of extremely poor beneficiaries within prior shiree cohorts to justify adopting the latency assumption. Second Assumption: There are interventions that are proven to work! There are well tried and tested interventions that can be implemented at Household Level that demonstrate a strong likelihood of allowing the household to transition out of extreme poverty within a 2-3 year period. Evidence: The shiree programme has targeted the poorest 3-5% of the population (ie well below the lower poverty threshold) in the most difficult to access locations. Implementing NGOs have succeeded in taking over 60% of households out of extreme poverty over 3 year intervention periods (Change Monitoring System)

5 examples of direct interventions Provided with a cow and artificial insemination technology. Given nets and secured fishing rights to waterbody. Provided with skills training and a garments sector job. Transferred 3 piglets for rearing. Receives equipment and training for crab-fattening. Further support for this assumption is provided by the success of prior programmes such as BRAC-

Further support for this assumption is provided by the success of prior programmes such as BRACChallenging the Frontiers of Poverty Reduction (CFPR) that reports 90% graduation and the Chars livelihoods Programme (CLP). The methods adopted by these programmes are broadly similar to shiree in involving some combination of asset and cash transfer plus training and group mobilisation.


Steps out of extreme poverty Graduation Checklist:             

Food security Net cash income No. of Income Sources Cash Savings Value of Productive Assets Non-productive assets Food diversity Nutrition Health Drinking water Sanitation Gender empowerment Access to land (rural)

Graduated from Extreme Poverty

Skills developed in multiple IGAs, empowered, food secure, access to services, savings accumulated. Community groups formed to facilitate market linkages, group savings, support networks and build confidence and empowerment. Continued training on IGAs.

Receives asset and training on asset

Targeted as extremely poor

Third Assumption: The costs of complexity can be managed! It is possible to deliver many thousands of livelihood interventions at scale in an efficient manner without losing the diversity of interventions necessary to address locally specific opportunities and constraints. Evidence: The shiree programme is already working successfully with 248,000 households in the 5 main focus regions through about 25 NGO sub contracts. The challenge fund mechanism allows access to a wide variety of region or client group specific NGO working experience and expertise. Client specialisms amongst current contractors include Help Age, ADD and Handicap (disability), Plan-International (street children) and DSK (Slum dwellers). Other major contractors have regional presence and established networks dating back many years, for example – Oxfam and Uttaran in the Southern belt or Caritas and Greenhill in the Hill Tracts. The Management Agency/Sub-contractor Model enables the diversity in the portfolio necessary to address the multiple specific determinants of poverty while providing a common monitoring and financial management function and, critically, mechanisms and spaces for knowledge exchange and shared learning. The result of the latter processes is to allow continuous review and enhancement of interventions. Fourth Assumption: Sustainability - Self-sustaining Momentum towards permanent graduation can be established. The sustainability assumption is the most difficult to demonstrate given the impossibility of measuring the post project impact within the lifespan of the project itself. The best that can be achieved is to demonstrate that a positive upward trend is established amongst participating households with behaviour that supports the conclusion that resilience to subsequent re-impoverishment is being


gradually established. Positive indicators include re-investment in productive asset accumulation, diversification of income sources (a strong indicator of resilience), investment in health and education outcomes for the entire family, accumulation of savings, the re-combination of families that had become fragmented through severe traumatic poverty and the increased engagement of families with local elites including government officials and politicians. There is evidence from programme monitoring systems to verify all of these positive indicators and there is evidence from longer running programmes of a similar nature, such as those of BRAC, that livelihood gains continue on an upward trend. Nevertheless it is indisputable that families remain highly vulnerable to shocks felt either at the level of the household, the community or even the nation (eg a national flood of 1998 proportions, major cyclone or earthquake). Systemic social protection reform and/or the advent of affordable and effective social insurance are key medium to long term conditions for protecting the gains from livelihood interventions and achieving the ultimateeradication of extreme poverty. These systemic changes are not entirely exogenous to the intervention given the inclusion of a strong advocacy stream (see below). Fifth Assumption: “the boundaries of permissible thought2“can be expanded to encompass the eradication of extreme poverty in Bangladesh This is the key assumption underlying the research and advocacy work that is core to the programme model. For research to demonstrate that extreme and chronic poverty can be effectively treated and how it can be treated. For advocacy to use multiple sources of programme and research evidence to convince those with access to power and resources to take on the idea and to act on the objective of achieving zero percent extreme poverty. Without an acceptance of this idea as a realistic, doable, “SMART” objective the perception of the extreme poor will continue to be as being worthy of charity but largely excluded,through some combination of location, gender, caste, race, age, ability and education, from the benefits of national economic success. Current programme experience working with the extreme poor has identified the following 6 challenge areas:  Access to employment opportunities  Vulnerability to external shocks  Gender inequity  Health and Nutrition Vulnerability  Access to Public services and transfers  Marginalised group specific risks and vulnerabilities The value of the research and advocacy activities already underway but scheduled for further support through the resource bid is that a realistic national programme to address all of these areas with the ultimate objective of the eradication of extreme poverty is adopted by the political, economic and intellectual elite of the country - across deep political divides. If the combined elite can accommodate, breed and be motivated to action by this thought it will be possible to eradicate extreme poverty in

2

Shephard - CPRC


Bangladesh- perhaps even by 2021- the 50th anniversary of the formation of the country. This would require taking about 1 million households out of extreme poverty each year. Donors, multilaterals, INGOs and other external actors will play a key facilitating role through their funding, advocacy and implementation functions. To summarize: Assumption Sufficient extreme poor beneficiary households can be found

Verified √

These people have the potential to emerge from extreme poverty

A range of appropriate interventions exists

A robust management mechanism can deliver appropriate interventions at scale despite complexity

The continued progression of households towards a position of resilience can be supported

Evidence Programme has successfully recruited 248,000HH in 5 regions. BBS statistics indicate many millions of unserved extreme poor despite other programmes with a similar target group. Several large programmes have demonstrated good success rates with NGO implemented livelihood support interventions based on asset/cash transfer with associated training and support. Implementation experience has led to improved targeting and design of the right intervention based on analysis of individual household need and capacity. It is no longer “one size fits all” and household level monitoring using mobile technology provides a rapid learning loop about what works best. The challenge fund/Management Agency model provides this mechanism and value is added through the inclusion of critical learning, sharing and project enhancement forums and tools based on a dynamic stream of monitoring and research evidence Within the programme timeframe through continued monitoring, top up support and contingency resources. Beyond the programme timeframe through work with government and other counterparts to establish a strong national vision and shared commitment to the eradication of extreme poverty – that will result in systemic reform to social protection mechanisms and targeting of core public services.


thousands more people enabled to graduate from extreme poverty (Source: HIES 2010)

Each extreme poor household faces a unique geographical, economic, politicalandsocialcontext

Management Agency and established NGO partnerships

Change Monitoring System

DFID funds

Effective implementation of evidence based interventions

Effective national and local level advocacy and research

Effective project mgmt. and financial oversight

Comprehensive HH level information

funding

Proven approaches to poverty reduction

Wider enabling environmentaccess to public services

But each has the potential to move out from a life in extreme poverty

5 Cases

32 year old man living in Kurigram District. Married with 4 children. Engaged in sporadic day labour. 40 year old married man living in seasonally flooded Haor region. Adult children. Isolated by floods during rainy season. Seasonal migration for work. 23 year old physically disabled man, living in Dhaka slum with wife. Begs for income. 60 year old widow belonging to isolated indigenous community in remote Chittagong Hill Tracts.

17 year old girl living in climate change affected Satkhira District. Recently married, working as domestic maid.

There are a set of conditions necessary for these interventions to succeed at scale

There are well proven interventions that can transform the lives of these extreme poor households. (Prior experience of EEP/shiree, BRAC, CLP and others)

5 examples of locally appropriate livelihood interventions Provided with a cow and artificial insemination technology. Given nets and secured fishing rights to waterbody.

Provided with skills training and garments sector job. Transferred 3 piglets for rearing. Receives equipment and training for crab-fattening.


Political indifference and inaction: Increased support for national and local level advocacy initiatives and knowledge dissemination (i.e. The Manifesto for the Extreme Poor).

External shocks: Availability of contingency fund to enable robust response to floods, fires, evictions etc.

Failure rate: Availability of top-up funds and household targeting mechanism based on near real time data. Continued research into the dynamics of extreme poverty leading to the enhancement of design interventions.

The objective is to nurture thousands

more household level economic empowerment interventions and to increase the rate of graduation amongst 240,000 prior beneficiaries

Graduated from Extreme Poverty

Skills developed in multiple IGAs, empowered, food secure, access to services, savings accumulated. Graduation Checklist:

Community groups formed to facilitate market linkages, group savings, support networks and build confidence and empowerment. Continued training on IGAs.

    

Receives asset and training on asset

Targeted as extremely poor

       

Transformation Process out of Extreme Poverty

Food security Net cash income No. of Income Sources Cash Savings Value of Productive Assets Non-productive assets Food diversity Nutrition Health Drinking water Sanitation Gender empowerment Access to land (rural)


Theory of Change