Innovations for success and scale-up: an analysis of Bandhan’s Targeting the Hard Core Poor programme in India
Across the world, programmes that reach the ultra-poor have a similar design, with few differences. Based on secondary literature and practical experience, this paper describes the key features, and examines the innovations and adaptations of the scale-up and replications of these programmes. A participatory review of the Targeting the Hard Core Poor programme forms the basis of the discussions, with references to CFPR, CLP, and CAIM programmes. The paper highlights very high success rates of ultra-poor programmes across the world and in India. The critical adaptations in replication include preference to inclusion errors over exclusion errors, confidence building of the ultra-poor women, an expanded choice of enterprises, flexible graduation indicators, and rigorous monitoring systems. Areas of further research include studying the sustainability of village-level institutions for protection of the ultra-poor. The paper cautions that ultra-poor programmes should not replace official social protection schemes, for which continued advocacy is needed.