A Comprehensive Approach to Helping the Poor Lift Themselves out of Poverty

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Going the Extra Mile: From Safety Nets to Pathways out of Poverty
Track: Partnerships Targeting the Vulnerable
Date: Thursday, October 10th
Time: 9:00 – 10:30 AM

Going the Extra Mile_Picture _Roshaneh Zafar_288x360

Roshaneh Zafar, Managing Director, Kashf Foundation

Partnerships between financial institutions, governments, and social welfare programs are essential for empowering the extreme poor reduce vulnerability and gain self-sufficiency. Moderating the 2013 Partnerships against Poverty Summit plenary session “Going the Extra Mile: From Safety Nets to Pathways out of Poverty,” Roshaneh Zafar of the Kashf Foundation (Pakistan) noted that “poverty is a complex matter. We need multiple solutions, we need synergy, we need leverageability, we need scalability; and we all need to work together and do much more.”

The discussion opened with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of the Philippines Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Juliano-Soliman, who told of their “convergence strategy,” a means to help beneficiaries graduate and stay out poverty through conditional cash transfer (CCT) community-driven development and sustainable livelihoods converging. Through this program, they also partner with microfinance institutions to provide credit to clients that need larger loans than DSWD provides (10,000 pesos, or approximately $230).

Juan Borga (Inter-American Development Bank) and Secretary Soliman

Juan Borga (Inter-American Development Bank) and Secretary Soliman

Juan Borga of the Inter-American Development Bank shared their efforts toward poverty reduction. Working mostly with conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs, they are trying to create a system that creates a relationship between the recipients of the CCTs to the financial institutions so that they will have “the right instruments [to save] and the right incentives to do it.” Commonly, “the financial institutions are not really providing them with the right products they’d like to have.”

Nelly Otieno of CARE International in Kenya and Yves Moury of Fundación Capital (Colombia) highlighted the necessity of building assets through methods such as savings groups and CCTs in order to create pathways out of poverty and to prevent long term dependence on financial programs.

Moury, in particular, stressed the importance of asset building and capacity building as a catalyst to spur sustainability and self-sufficiency–and thus an exit strategy for the implementers. According to Moury, “Linking savings and CCTs has been just like putting wheels on suitcases—a powerful combination.”

The speakers agreed that health insurance, mobile phones, identification cards, social protection, and bank accounts, working in tandem, greatly help to supplement financial inclusion initiatives and create pathways out of poverty.

Syed Hashemi,  CS Ghosh, and Nelly Otieno

Syed Hashemi, CS Ghosh, and Nelly Otieno

Syed Hashemi of BRAC Development Institute (Bangladesh) spoke about incorporating governments into exit strategies that allow clients to protect their assets and take advantage of new opportunities. He emphasized that, “through national governments, we can come up with an integrated, holistic, national social protection system that combines CCTs with graduation programs so we can collectively achieve this commitment of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.”

Hashemi also touched on the cost-effectiveness of social protection policies that include safety nets and offer self-employment because, although graduation programs that include extremely intense monitoring and coaching have been seen to have an initially higher cost, they require a shorter timeline.

Innovative methods of providing health services to the poor are equally crucial to comprehensively reducing the amount of individuals living in extreme poverty. Chandra Shekhar Ghosh of Bandhan (India) stated, “Poverty is a complex syndrome. It is not only possible to eliminate poverty through credit support to the poor.”

23_plenary_audience(4)_MarciaMetcalfe+CarmenVelasco+JohnHatch_400x300_photo credit - Vikash Kumar

(Photo credit: Vikash Kumar Photography)

Organizations and government institutions working toward eliminating poverty must implement additional services beyond credit, including social, health, and educational programs that target the underlying causes of poverty beyond financial inclusion.

Overall, the plenary constructively critiqued the current successes, challenges, and future opportunities in the effort to create the pathways the extreme poor can take advantage of to lift themselves out of poverty.

However, the speakers recognized that the road ahead is difficult. As Secretary Soliman stated, “We hesitate to say graduation or exit because poverty is very complex. The notion of graduation gives the impression that we are done. But with poverty you can never be done, and that’s why we call it transition.

Watch the full video of this plenary

Reflections from the 2013 Summit – Summary of day 2

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The following are selected highlights of Day 2 at the 2013 Summit

Day 2 started off with the Plenary “Going the Extra Mile: From Safety Nets to Pathways out of Poverty.”

Roshaneh Zafar, founder and managing director of Kashf Foundation in Pakistan, stated that:

[this topic poses] an exciting challenge and a balance because on one hand, we have MFIs that want to do more and on the other hand we have government led programs, so we can see if the two shall meet.

Others on the panel included Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman (Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and Development, President’s Cabinet, Philippines) and Juan Borga (Outreach and Partnerships, Lead Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank) to discuss their role as funders and policy makers. Practitioners pitched their methodologies for providing pathways out of poverty:

  • Yves Moury (President and Executive Director, Fondación Capital) pitched the benefits of conditional cash transfers (CCTs)
  • Syed M. Hashemi (Professor, BRAC University, Bangladesh) pitched the graduation model
  • Nelly Otieno (Financial Inclusion Sector Manager, CARE International, Kenya) pitched savings groups model
  • Chandra Shekhar Ghosh (Chairman & Managing Director, Bandhan, India) pitched integrated health and financial services

As moderator, Ms. Zafar posed the following questions to Secretary Soliman:

(1) In terms of cash transfers and graduation schemes and so on, Is there a certain eligibility criteria for qualifying for these schemes? She answered,

We have  the “National Household Target System” which identifies 5.2 million poor families, and of that 4.3 million were identified as eligible because of the children that they have ranging in age from 0 to 14 years (we will extend that to 18 years of age in the year 2014 so that they can have support for high school students).   The conditions should be to keep these children in school and keep them off the streets and healthy. The child should be in school at least 85% of the month, and they should visit the health clinic at least once a month, and de-worming twice a year. Also, the attendance in ‘family development sessions’ is mandatory (20 t0 30 partner beneficiaries discussing a whole range of topics from health, responsible parenthood, raising children etc…).

(2) How do you measure impact (changes)? She answered that, for example, pregnant women receive post natal and anti natal services higher than in areas where conditional cash transfers (CCTs) are not implemented, an approximately 15% an increase.

(3), How do you make sure that these families or households don’t become dependent on CCTs and are able to graduate? Secretary Soliman answered,

We have a convergence strategy where we have CCTs, community driven development and sustainable livelihood converging in municipalities where we have the CCT families. We provide interventions through community driven enterprise development and capacity building and employment facilitation. That’s a step we are taking so that they can easily move in to self-sufficiency.

Ms. Zafar posed the following questions to Mr. Borga: What are some pros and cons of such schemes?

Within the Inter-American Development Bank, we have a multilateral investment fund, which gives small grants. The idea is that these funds work as a laboratory to give a taste of different new schemes and possibilities. Always working with the bottom of the pyramid and trying to help them access market skills, and basic services.

What we have been seeing when it comes to CCTs programs is that poor people want to save but they don’t have the right instruments or the right incentives to do so. We are trying to create a system in which creates a relationship between the recipients of the CCTs and the financial Institutions. A problem we see we see is that the financial Institutions don’t really provide them with the products they would like to have.

After that, practitioner members of the panel pitched their method for providing pathways out of poverty and Secretary Soliman and Mr. Borga weighed in on each pitch, judging which one they thought had most potential. Ms. Otieno (CARE International) on savings groups and asset building: Who are we really reaching through microcredit? And we need to consider the underlying causes of poverty.

We do not want to romanticize the Poor…  (Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman)

2 commitments were then made:

1) Health and microfinance clients; demonstrating their partnership and commitment

D.S.K. Rao, Regional Director for Asia Pacific, Microcredit Summit Campaign, India and Marcia Metcalfe, Director, Microfinance and Health, Freedom from Hunger, USA

  • To secure funding to develop and test health program indicators by year end 2014 that will enable our partners the MFIs and SHG’s that are providing health programs to measure the impact of such programs, and sign up to 10 partners who by 2015 will agree to collect these indicators and share them with their peers.
  • By 2015, we commit to reaching 1 million poor families in financial services orgs. With integrated financial and health services and continue to contribute to their improved well-being and their families by 2015.

2) Microfinance council of the Philippines and the dept. of social welfare and development presented by Corazon Juliano-Soliman, Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and Development, President’s Cabinet, Philippines. A private sector/public partnership.

The commitments were then followed by a Workshop on digitization of financial ecosystems.

After the workshop, the Plenary “Reaching Deeper and Lowering Costs: The Path ahead for Digital Services” was conducted by our very own Sabina Rogers. Guests included Mr. Ian Radcliffe, Director, WSBI-ESBG, Belgium; Mr. Napoleon Nazareno, President and CEO of PLDT and smart Communications, Philippines; Mr. Nadeem Hussein, President and CEO of Tameer Microfinance Bank, Pakistan; Mr. Raj Singh-Khaira, Vice President, RM & Consumer Services, FINO PayTech, India; and Mr. Gordon Cooper, Head of Emerging Market Solutions, Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, VISA, USA. Digital transactions have the potential to make the delivery of financial services a fixed cost rather than a variable cost. Once the basic network is in place, adding new clients brings very little additional cost. Some countries have been able to tap into the potential of digital transaction to bring large percentages of the population into a common payment system. On the other hand, only a few have successfully implemented large scale delivery of other financial services (savings, credit, insurance) using digital channels. What are these examples of progress and how can lessons from one context be understood and adapted in another? What’s next in the digital age and how can products and services better serve the very poor in their journey out of severe poverty? And most importantly, how can actors from across the sectors develop powerful synergies to make the most of the tools emerging in this digital age?

Congratulations to the Ignite Forum for officially launching at the 2013 Summit! For more on Ignite, visit http://igniteforum.org/

Watch the live stream at: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/2071894/PartnershipsAgainstPovertySummit2013

Yves Moury confirmed speaker at 2013 Partnerships against Poverty Summit


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