Pacific Standard: An Anti-Poverty Program That Really Works
"The study, run by an international team of economists, included 10,495 households in Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Pakistan, and Peru. Almost half of the families in the study lived on less than $1.25 a day.
The specifics of Graduation varied by country, but the basic premise was the same. All the Graduation programs gave families some kind of "productive asset," such as sheep, goats, seed corn, bees, or small shops. They all provided training on how to build a business using the assets, and gave food or cash aid to the families for up to a year, in part to discourage them from eating or selling their "productive asset." The programs also gave families access to a savings account, and some programs required that families contributed to the account regularly.
One year after the program ended, researchers found that Graduation families bought more, owned more, spent more time working, were more politically active, and missed fewer meals than similar families who hadn't enrolled in the program. The changes were all statistically significant, but, the researchers note, not very large."