For the chronic poor, the various livelihood constraints are structured and interlocked in complex knots that fail to carry forward automatic induced impacts through interventions, such as microfinance, that work on untying important strategic knots. BRAC, a poverty-focussed NGO in Bangladesh has been experimenting with various approaches on this problem of understanding the knots and trying to design programmes for the extreme poor.
The first approach was built around food insecurity as this is one of the most important constraints that trap the extreme poor into chronic forms of poverty. Yet, the impact of mere food transfers tends to be typically very short-lived. BRAC's Income Generation for Vulnerable Group Development (IGVGD) Programme aims to strategically link the food aid with training, savings and credit. In this way, the programme creates a missing rung in the ladder for the extreme poor. The subsequent programme for the extreme poor, which is still in its early phase, takes a far more comprehensive conceptualization of the knots in the poverty web of the extreme poor - ranging from lack of assets to lack of voice.
Targeted Development Programmes for the Extreme Poor: Experiences from BRAC Experiments, CPRC Working Paper No. 20, PRCPB Working Paper No. 2, Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, ISBN 1-904049-19-2, 26 pp.