Pathways From Poverty: The Process of Graduation in Rural Bangladesh
  About the book

How does a landless labourer become a small farmer or the owner of three rickshaws? How does a young widow educate her sons and find a dowry for her daughter? How does a family with no assets acquire cows and become successful milk sellers? How do households in one of the world's poorest countries move out of poverty? This book probes behind the statistics showing declining poverty in Bangladesh to explore the process of graduation. Using a variety of qualitative methods, including thirty household case studies, and based on research in three villages representing different rice ecosystems, the authors seek to understand graduation from the inside. Villagers in Bangladesh have responded to new opportunities in agriculture, non-farm employment, and migration. New livelihood strategies milk selling, shop-keeping, rickshaw pulling and repairs, vegetable growing provide poor people with opportunity ladders that use available skills and need little start-up capital. Two key drivers of graduation new rice technology and micro-finance illustrate how policy and organisations create pathways from poverty. A qualitative model that captures seven key components of the graduation process is combined with case study evidence to show why some households succeed while others fail. Setting their findings within a wider context, the authors show how graduation at the household level is closely linked to the growth of a market economy. The book sheds new light on a complex and hidden process that is central to development. It also offers various policy recommendations. Readable and informative, the book seeks a wide readership particularly among scholars and researchers interested in the process of graduation from poverty. It should serve as a guide for NGO's working for poverty alleviation to help poor people identify opportunity ladders.

Alastair Orr, Ph.D., is an Agricultural Economist in the Agriculture, Health, and Environment Group, Natural Resources Institute, Univercity of Greenwich, United Kingdom. Barbara Adolph, Ph.D., is Social Development and Livelihoods Specialist, Triple Line Consulting Ltd., United Kingdom. Md. Rafiqul Islam, Ph.D., is Principal Scientific Officer, Agricultural Economics Division, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute.