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Overcoming Extreme Poverty in India: Lessons Learnt from SKS Image

Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

Overcoming Extreme Poverty in India: Lessons Learnt from SKS

Summary

Swayam Krishi Sangam (SKS), a leading microfinance institution in India, has implemented an innovative approach to poverty reduction known as the Ultra Poor Program (UPP). SKS believes that income generation is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, but that the poorest are too vulnerable, too risk adverse and lack the entrepreneurial skills to make use of a microfinance loan. SKS therefore offers carefully targeted individuals with productive assets, close accompaniment, a cash stipend, a savings scheme and health services for 18 months, in order to ‘graduate’ them out of extreme poverty. The remit is to provide social safety nets with an effective ‘exit’ strategy, with particular attention to the challenge of scaling-up nationally.

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