The Learning Summit was attended by a wide-range of implementing partners, practitioners, researchers, donors, and policy makers. AVSI and the Graduating to Resilience consortium shared the Activity’s Cohort One results, processes, and methodology of key interventions, and how these outcomes informed Cohort Two design through a Collaboration, Learning, and Adaptation (CLA) process. Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) also shared the results from the randomized control trial (RCT) impact evaluation and cost-benefit analysis conducted on this Cohort of participants.
Topics covered include:
-Cutting-edge research on Graduation Approach program design elements
-Adaptation of Graduation Approach for food security and nutrition outcomes
-The role of Coaching and the experiment of individual vs group coaching
-Effectiveness of Graduation Approach for refugees as compared to host communities
–Gender dynamics and related learning
–Cost-benefit analysis of the Graduation Approach
–Measurement techniques for graduation outcomes and resilience
-Adaptive management during COVID-19
-Reflections on scalability and digitalization
-Learning agenda for future iteration of the program – Cohort Two design
The first of its kind for BHA, the Graduation to Resilience Activity realized note-worthy achievements, a key one being the graduation out of extreme poverty of 73% of the Cohort One host and refugee participants who completed the 30-month intervention period. The Activity purposefully integrated food security and nutrition interventions into the Graduation Approach to test whether the successful approach to poverty reduction could also improve household food consumption and nutritional status of household members. Important food security indicators such as dietary diversity for women and children improved significantly. Participating households coped with the shock of COVID-19 and still managed to build up savings and productive assets, in part due to diversification of income sources.
AVSI’s graduation results are comparable to IPA’s findings showing a large increase in productive asset holdings, monthly consumption per capita, index of food security, and subjective well-being, confirming the significant positive returns from the investment made in participating households when compared to the control group.
Results to date suggest increased resilience capacities of participants and their households, but the longitudinal design of the impact evaluation will shed additional light on whether the measured gains will be sustained over time or not.
The most significant activities identified by participants are coaching, savings, and asset transfer. Coaching is core to the Graduating to Resilience Activity’s theory of change, and qualitative data suggests that it is the driving force that boosts people on a pathway towards resilience.
Group coaching is as effective as individual coaching to enable participants to succeed in the graduation program, and at a lower cost. Group coaching also promoted social cohesion and peer support methods appear to have been successful.
Refugees took longer to graduate compared to host community members (18-24 months might be enough for the host but refugees might need up to 24-30 months), but in the end they managed to graduate at levels similar to the host community.
Drop-out of participants from the Activity is inevitable and should be planned. An estimated 22 percent of participants dropped out of the Activity due to mainly re-locations back to Congo and shifting out of Activity areas.
Adaptive Learning and the use of evidence for decision-making is critical. Graduating to Resilience developed a COVID-19 scenario planning tool which allowed the Activity to pivot and continue to reach participants with modified support.
Following the analysis of evidence gathered from Cohort one, Cohort two will test a lower cost version of the successful treatment arm. The Cohort two intervention will last 24 months and will include the standard components of 12 months of Consumption Support, Livelihood Skills Training, VSLA, Group coaching with individual touch points, Asset transfer for business, and Linkages and Referrals to service providers. Cohort 2 will also test the addition of a complementary mental health support intervention delivered by coaches.
Additional materials such as technical and policy briefs, full presentations, and videos used during the summit can be found by clicking on the link, here.
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