Half a billion people live on less than 75 cents per day. Termed the “ultrapoor,” they often have too few resources to send their children to school or to save any money. What would it take to improve their conditions? Sadna Samaranayake, project director of the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative in BRAC USA, began an experiment in Bangladesn to find out. It has now been replicated in 20 countries.
The BRAC program gave very poor people, according to their preferences, an asset like goods to start a tiny store, lease a plot of land, buy vegetable seeds, or obtain animals. They also received regularly some cash or food and intensive training on resource management.
How well do you think the program worked? You can find out at:
- How satisfied are you with the outcome measures used? Could you suggest others?
- Do you believe that random assignment in these experiments was ethical? Why or why not?