Targeting the Extreme Poor

NETZ exclusively works with extreme poor people, including the least advantaged members of society such as people with some form of disability or elderly people. While recognizing the appeal and need of universal targeting approaches in certain settings, the qualitative distinctness of the extreme poor and their structural exclusion from poverty reduction initiatives, including most notably activities of micro finance institutions (MFIs), makes this exclusive targeting approach necessary. 

Without an understanding of the specific dynamics of extreme poverty and a sophisticated (but yet easy to use) targeting model, it is not possible to meaningfully reach the extreme poor. Recognizing the distinctions between moderate and extreme poverty, understanding geographical variations in poverty distribution and having clear pre-set criteria for the identification of the extreme poor proofed to be important stepping stones towards designing successful interventions for NETZ and its partners. The selection process draws on various sources of knowledge on different levels.  

Project Area Selection

As far as the geographic selection of the project area is concerned, NETZ and its partners concentrate on the regions with the highest incidence of extreme poverty. Thus, in the area selection process a focus lies on the analysis of transregional poverty-related data, such as the poverty map created by the World Food Programme, government statistics and other empirical studies. These efforts are complemented by utilizing the locality-specific expertise of the partner-NGOs and NETZ. 

Community Selection

When selecting participating households, the members of the local target communities are closely involved in the process with the help of various participatory tools. Specifically, NETZ and its partners use Trensact Walks, Focus Group Discussions and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools, such as Social Mapping and Wealth Ranking in this process. This allows the communities to identify extreme poor members among them, define extreme poverty in their own context and provide specific knowledge about their poorest members. Local elected bodies as well as local civil society organisations are also consulted in the process. Overall, these measures guarantee a community-driven selection process and enhance the transparency, which in turn fosters the communities’ acceptance and produces valid results. 

Household Selection

Based on the results of the community-driven selection process, a list of eligible households is compiled. Subsequently, the project staff conduct Key Informant Interviews (KII) with the listed households in order to analyse their specific situations focusing on the pre-set selection criteria of the project (please see the box below). You can download a sample interview questionnaire here, which partly also serves as baseline profile. 

Independent Verification

In order to avoid overlapping with other interventions and/or the inclusion of people who are clients of a microfinance institution (usually an exclusion criterion), the list of pre-selected people are cross-checked with local government institutions, NGOs and MFIs. Furthermore, a sample of the pre-selected households is verified by an independent entity (if possible) or by the staff of NETZ. As a last step, the final list of project participants is validated by members of the targeted communities.

After the selection process, the project participants start to develop individual household level plans for the project implementation. Specific details on this process can be found here on the next page.

For a more detailed discussion on targeting the extreme poor, please also see this working paper developed by our partner shiree.

Selection Criteria

  • Average daily calorie intake below 1,840 kcal
  • Average per capita per day income less than US $ 0.29 (at prices of 2010)
  • Completely asset less or asset less to a great extent
  • Landless or functionally landless (<0.1 acre of land)
  • Homestead on khas land (state-owned land), relatives' land, embankments or have own homestead
  • Maximum two meals in minimum 6-9 months of a year, sometimes less, low quantity and quality
  • Not a micro-finance client and not involved in other livelihood projects
  • Preference is given to indigenous people, female-headed households, people with some form of disability and dependant poor, e.g. elderly.

The PRA Tool Box

The Food and Agricultire Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published a useful PRA Tool Box with valuable tips and practical guidelines which can be helpful in targeting processes. For more details please click here.