We're Trickle Up and we're on a mission to create a world free of ultrapoverty. Women and families living in ultrapoverty—those living well below the $1.25/day threshold for extreme poverty—are why we exist. They face chronic hunger, have few financial resources, and are often voiceless in their households and communities. Confronting the constant challenge of meeting their daily needs, they lack the resources, tools and social support to invest in their future. Worldwide, an estimated 300-400 million people live in ultrapoverty. They are too poor for microcredit and often overlooked by other anti- poverty agencies and government programs. Trickle Up has served the ultrapoor since 1979, and our combination of resources, skill- building, and support has helped more than 1 million people take the first steps out of poverty. We help them start sustainable businesses, build assets, save on a regular basis, and plan for better futures. We measure and analyze the impact of our work with monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems that use both industry-standard and customized tools. Our M&E helps us accurately identify the very poorest and inform program management and design. Transparency and honesty are essential. When results don’t match our expectations, we look at that as an opportunity to dig deeper and learn how to improve. We integrate M&E into all our programs, including quantitative surveys when participants begin the Trickle Up program, upon completing the program, and well after completion to assess sustainability of change. Our partner field staff regularly track savings group performance and participants’ livelihood activities, and income and asset growth. Monitoring and midterm assessments enable staff to provide timely support to participants as both opportunities and challenges emerge. We work with our local partners to test variations in program design and with external researchers to rigorously assess the impact of our programs. We are currently engaged in a randomized control trial (RCT) in Burkina Faso to track the impact of our program on children’s well- being. Understanding why a change has taken place (or has not) is as important as understanding what change has occurred. So, we complement our quantitative evaluations with qualitative assessments including focus group discussions and individual interviews, and through research partnerships. Our participants, their families, and communities are encouraged to assess their own situations and analyze reasons for change. This adds depth to both our and their knowledge that simple numbers can miss, and sometimes reveals changes that we did not anticipate.
What difference does Trickle Up make in the lives of the women we serve? Over 34 years, we have worked with hundreds of thousands of people who have successfully started or expanded businesses, earned enough to reduce hunger and improve their families’ lives, saved money and gained access to credit, new skills, confidence and social connections. With this inaugural edition of the Trickle Up Outcomes Report, you will hear their stories through numbers.