Trickle Up Ultra Poor Program
Implementers: Trickle Up India
Location: Piloted in Canning II Block, West Bengal. Scaling up in Jharkhand, Orissa, and Bihar.
Number of Participants: 300 women
Partners: Human Development Centre (HDC)
Cofunders: Ford Foundation India (in Scale Up)
Start Date: 2007
End Date: 2009 (pilot phase). Scale up 4,450 scale-up participants funded until July 2015.
Trickle Up launched the Trickle Up Ultra Poor Program in 2007 in partnership with the Human Development Centre (HDC) in Canning II Block, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India. The pilot project was implemented in five panchayats in communities on the “West Bengal Backward Village List,” the poorest in the area.
For more information on this pilot contact: JanetH@trickleup.org
Implementing Organization Overview
Working with local partner organizations, Trickle Up supports women living in ultra poverty in India, Central America and West Africa to move out of extreme poverty by enabling them to plan and execute a series of livelihood activities, become active members in savings and credit groups, and learn skills to strengthen their livelihoods.
Targeting: Trickle Up and HDC conducted participatory rural appraisals in 29 villages, in which the community identified the “poor” and “ultra-poor” in each village. Trickle Up targeted households that met at least three of the following criteria: owned less than 40 decimals of land, had no active male members, owned no productive assets, had children under 14 either working or not attending school, and had a female participant working as a housemaid. Any households associated with microfinance institutions or that received subsidies from the government were excluded. In scale up, Trickle Up continues to use Poverty Wealth Ranking, with two levels of verification and use a Poverty Assessment gauge developed by each partner to help further guide the selection process during household visits.
Consumption support: Trickle Up provided a cash stipend of approximately INR 91 (US$1.70) per week. The duration of the consumption support was determined by the participant’s choice of livelihood activities: 25 weeks for farm activities and 12 weeks for non-farm activities. The consumption support started at the beginning of the project. In scale up, Trickle Up switched the consumption support to be given during the two- to three-month period of the lean season in the first year of the project. The consumption support is INR 1,080 (US$ 20), paid in weekly installments. There is also a pregnancy allowance of INR 1,620 (US$ 30), paid during the last month of pregnancy and the first two months after childbirth at any point during the project period. Note: INR:USD exchange rates as of April 4, 2013.
Livelihoods: Participants chose among the following livelihood options: four goats, four sheep, ten ducks and two goats/sheep, four pigs, or petty trade such as paddy husking or vending. The grant size was US$135 on average. In scale up, Trickle Up conducts a livelihood planning process with the family, ensuring the woman remains the focus of the activity, and taking into account all the assets, knowledge and skills the family possesses. Field workers guide participants to livelihood activities, from animal husbandry to vending to agriculture, that meet the needs of the family at that time. The woman’s livelihood choices are then vetted by her savings group before they are funded. Grants are $235 per participant and generally support two to three activities.
Financial service: Each participant was required to save within a Self Help savings and credit Group (SHG). Each group established its own rules for saving and borrowing according to suggested guidelines. Towards the end of the pilot program Trickle Up linked the SHGs to banks in order to provide larger loans to group members. In scale up, Trickle Up establishes SHGs at the beginning of the project (6 months prior to asset transfer) in order to foster group cohesion. SHGs link to banks by the end of the project period to enable ongoing access to capital. Additionally, each participant opens a bank account at the start of the program and seed capital is deposited into that account for transparency.
Additional services: Trickle Up trained community veterinarians. Trickle Up also provided preventative health care education (hygiene practices, nutrition, immunizations, etc.), family planning neo- and post-natal care support, and sanitary latrines. Staff also encourage participants and their families to access public health services and government schemes, such as subsidized food, widows’ pensions or subsidized housing. In scale up, Trickle Up no longer trains community veterinarians because this practice was found not to be successful. Instead, partner staff provide technical support for livestock and where possible links are created to government livestock and agriculture support programs. The health component of the program has continued, with health workers visiting households monthly (more frequently when pregnant or ill), and facilitating discussions at some SHG meetings.
Research: A baseline survey was conducted by the Indian Institute of Management and an endline survey was completed by project staff. A midterm process evaluation and endline evaluation was conducted by BRAC Development Institute, funded by CGAP and The MasterCard Foundation. Qualitative research was conducted by BRAC Development Institute, funded by The MasterCard Foundation. In scale up, Trickle Up utilizes quantitative and qualitative evaluation tools including baseline and endline surveys, and extensive monitoring tools that generate monthly or quarterly reports on livelihood activities, health and savings group activities. Qualitative assessments help improve program learning. Trickle Up has introduced a baseline comparison group to enhance understandings of impact, and is actively pursuing external research partnerships to provide more nuance about the dynamics of change.
Graduation criteria: For the pilot, graduation was determined by the implementer and the participants themselves based on the following indicators: households eating at least two cooked meals per day all year round; no starvation due to unavailability of food; productive asset values of at least INR 7,000 (US$128) for livestock or INR4,000 (US$73) for non-farm based activities; at least two sources of income; a minimum savings balance of INR 1,000 (US$18) per participant; at least one loan repaid within the Self Help Group. In addition: participants use sanitary latrines, access safe drinking water throughout the year, access at least one government service, and are able to sign their name. Participants are also evaluated for their increased decision making, self-confidence and participation in the community’s life and beyond. Households must meet at least 60 percent of the above criteria to graduate. In scale up, Trickle Up is tracking economic, social and health indicators regularly. Graduation criteria have been narrowed to four: asset and regular income maintained (INR 11,280 (US$ 207) in assets above those provided by TU); active membership in an SHG (measured by savings and credit activity); business skills (planning and diversification of activities; and working as a change agent in their family and/or community. TU is seeking participant feedback on appropriate criteria through a consultation process in 2013. Note: INR:USD exchange rates as of April 4, 2013.
Graduation rate: For the pilot, Trickle Up assessed participants on a score of 1 to 5 against two sets of indicators. The first set included economic indicators such as enterprise growth and diversification, meeting a savings/borrowing requirement of 20 USD, and non–economic indicators; active SHG participation, food security, access to state services, etc. The final graduation rate stood at 58%. Trickle Up staff felt that the graduation criteria diminished their participants’ achievements, as more weight was given to economic indicators. The scale was altered to lower thresholds for economic indicators and integrated participants’ self perceptions and perceptions of each other’s performance. This process established that 86% of participants had successfully graduated out of extreme poverty.
Scale up: Scaled up to 5,450 with 9 partner organizations in India, with an addition 4,200 anticipated by the end of 2015. Trickle Up is also beginning to implement a modified graduation model in West Africa and Central America.