[x] Close

Download Link

Keep up with SEEP!

Sign up for our email list and you'll be the first to know about latest news, blog posts, events & new worldwide initiatives from SEEP and its members

ES4VP Wiki - Home Image

Economic Strengthening for the Very Poor (ES4VP)

Graduation and Pathway Models

Very poor households are those that cannot meet their most basic needs. They are vulnerable to shocks and stresses that affect the household’s ability to generate sufficient income to earn a livelihood and achieve a threshold level of nutritional requirements for a healthy life both now and in the future.[1]  Graduation and Pathway models that are focused on the very poor aim to reduce vulnerability to external shocks by supporting activities and interventions that create a “pathway”, which will support the very poor to “graduate” out of poverty. These ativities reduce vulnerability and improve resilience by

  • Increasing assets and capital
  • Supporting consumption smoothing or increase
  • Promoting increased incomes and improving household cashflows 

 While terminology and definitions vary among various ES4VP approaches, most distinguish different degrees of poverty or vulnerability.  A key principle for effective economic strengthening strategies is the need to take into account the level of poverty and vulnerability of the households or individuals targeted.


These pathways provide a map of different entry points for specific livelihood or economic strengthening activities, matching the different vulnerability status and livelihood objectives of households. Several ES4VP programs use a pathway concept, moving from provision or subsidies (in the form of cash, food or asset transfers) to promotion or graduation (economic self-sufficiency).  This pathway model also indicates the role played by various development sectors (e.g. social safety nets, health services, and education as well as microfinance, value chain of employment programs), and how such cross-sectoral approaches can vary at different stages of the pathway. Pathway models, however do not offer blueprints for every context, and should be adapted to household motivations and resources, ability to tolerate risk, existing service providers and local context (including the business enabling environment). 


[1] See LIFT’s Livelihood and Food Security Conceptual Framework