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Sydney South NSW 1235, Level 11, 227 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000

Telephone: 1800 812 164

© 2020 Opportunity International AustraliaABN 83 003 805 043

Your ImpactReaching the ultra poor
with innovation in the Philippines

1 in 10
people in the Philippines live in extreme poverty
family members

As at December 2018

Graduating to sustainable livelihoods

This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

Thanks to your support, Opportunity has launched the innovative Livelihoods for the Extreme Poor (LIFE) graduation program in the Philippines.

LIFE gives families a hand to hold as they begin their journey out of ultra poverty. With staged, holistic support to progress from ultra poverty to opportunity, this is a solution to reach the invisible last-mile of families left behind.

Generally, the ultra poor live on less than $1.90 a day. Without access to assets or employment, typically these families don’t have enough food, can’t send their children to school and live in an unsafe shelter. Despite efforts to reach them – including microfinance and government initiatives, these families are falling through the cracks. With no safety net to catch them they're simply struggling to survive each and every day.

Opportunity's program partner ASKI is pioneering the graduation approach in the Philippines. Meet the families you're helping graduate from ultra poverty, read your latest program update and learn more about the graduation approach below.

Learn about Graduation Program Updates Meet families

Your program updates

Your Latest Update


This snapshot comes from our recently completed Midline Survey Report. This analysis helps inform better future program design by capturing the successes and challenges of the Graduation Ultra Poor pilot in the Philippines. The analysis shows mostly positive trends in key indicators including income, asset growth, sanitation and school attendance. Areas for improvement include targeting families most likely to benefit, timely implementation and the need for greater collaboration, closer monitoring and staff training on data quality. These areas will be key priorities in the coming months. 

Around 22% of the original 640 participants selected for the pilot have dropped out, most commonly due to leaving the area for employment opportunities elsewhere or being found to be ineligible. 


Your Past Updates

October 2018 March 2018 October 2017

Learn about the Graduation Approach

Life Communities in the Philippines

What is graduation?

Graduation approaches are a pathway to support the most marginalised in the communities we serve to overcome financial and social exclusion and graduate to sustainable livelihoods. After graduating from ultra poverty families can receive continued support on their journey out of poverty with access to microfinance and related financial products.

See how the Livelihoods for the Extreme Poor (LIFE) pilot gives families a hand to hold so they can graduate to sustainable livelihoods.

Partnering for innovation

Opportunity’s program partner, ASKI, is pioneering the graduation approach in the Philippines.

The LIFE approach learns from the graduation method and draws on over a decade of testing the most effective ways to help the ultra poor graduate into greater resilience.

This approach was first launched by BRAC in Bangladesh in 2002. By 2016 over 1.6 million families had graduated from ultra poverty across 11 countries.

Does it work?

BRAC has seen 75-98% of participants ‘graduate’ from ultra poverty. Graduation is the first poverty eradication approach proven to effectively transition families living in ultra poverty to sustainable livelihoods, supported by a growing body of evidence.

A landmark paper published in Science in May 2015, provided compelling evidence that the approach is cost-effective and leads to statistically significant and sustainable gains in economic and social outcomes, analysing the results of randomised control trials involving 21,000 participants in six countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Pakistan and Peru).

Meet a family you're helping

Thelma with her goats

New Meet Thelma

19 year-old Thelma is very proud of her goats. Before joining the Graduation pilot, she and husband Eugene struggled to afford more than one meal a day for their 12-month old daughter.

Read more


Meet Lolita

Along with her new assets, Lolita is learning business and life skills.

Read more

Marites with one of her children

Meet Marites

Last December Marites became the proud owner of two goats and the stock to start her own sari-sari, or kiosk.

This may not sound like much, but Marites believes these assets are the key to breaking the cycle of poverty for her family.

Read more

Marilyn and her children meeting with their ASKI program officer

Meet Marilyn

Marilyn will be given a piglet, as well as help to establish a small trading business. At the end of two years, it’s expected that life will be significantly different for Marilyn. Most importantly, she’ll have the skills and resources to sustain her family's progress out of poverty.

Read more

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