Key message 4 – The poorest face barriers – rather than being unwilling or unfit – to engage in similar jobs as wealthier women

On average, the programme benefits are 5.4 times larger than its costs; the estimated internal rate of return ranges from 16% to 23%5. Working fewer hours in poorly-paid casual wage labour, beneficiaries now spend more time in livestock rearing. Returns to this occupational shift are sizeable, and suggest that ultra-poor women are willing and able to work similar jobs as wealthier women, but that wealth class differences may require a ‘big-push’ to overcome.

Estimated internal rate of return varies by the assumed opportunity cost of time. One important barrier may be in credit markets. The programme’s internal rate of return exceeds both formal and microfinance (MFI) lending rates for a sizeable share of households, as shown in below. This suggests that the ultra-poor are unable to borrow, even to finance highly profitable investments. Another constraint may be their inability to acquire the skills needed to move into more profitable jobs.

Figure 3: Programme’s internal rate of return (IRR)

Footnotes

  • 5 Estimated internal rate of return varies by the assumed opportunity cost of time.