Enhancing Economic Opportunities in Latin America: From Poverty Reduction Projects to Sustainable Livelihoods
Despite the region's progress in reducing poverty, 165 million people in Latin America (28% of its population) live in poverty. The pace of extreme poverty reduction has slowed in recent years. Large segments of the population are still vulnerable, and suffer from social and economic exclusion. This project will address that challenge. From poverty to self-sufficiency Researchers will build on the work of non-profit organizations that have implemented graduation pilots. These aim to enhance the assets that allow households to become self-sufficient, and build knowledge to cope with shocks without falling back into extreme poverty. These pilots offer: -consumption support -savings mobilization -financial literacy -livelihoods training -asset transfer Testing new approaches In partnership with the Ford Foundation, researchers will build on earlier work to test innovations and generate evidence on how to take them to scale. The project will help move large numbers of the extreme poor (mostly women) into the market economy by preparing them for self-employment and teaching them to use formal financial services. The innovations to be tested include: -using information and communication technologies for training and coaching -introducing cash instead of in-kind transfers -working with the private sector to find market channels for micro-entrepreneurs' products and services -examining how cash transfer safety nets for youth, combined with training and coaching, can create sustainable pathways out of extreme poverty The project team will work with governments in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Paraguay, and Mexico to form critical partnerships so that pilots can be taken to scale. The innovations developed through this project will help reduce costs, standardize, simplify, and facilitate implementation. The project will explore gender differences to determine program approaches that will allow vulnerable women to benefit equally. It will also help identify interventions to foster women's economic empowerment.