We believe that successful and sustainable development comes from the bottom-up, not the top-down. PEP offers the poor a hand up, not a hand out. The people we serve are at the center of our development model. Our Programs—which include land grants, livestock rearing, nutritional support, health services, housing services, small grants, educational support, and many other elements—are made to fit the needs and goals of the development partners (the term we use for our poor). PEP recruits young women and men, trains them, and employs them to help the poorest of their own communities.

These social workers help each family prepare and execute its own uplift plan. The first goal is to ensure that each family has clean drinking water, adequate food, and shelter; next comes financial security and independence. Families most in need of a particular intervention—such as employment for a family member, help to keep children in school, urgent health treatment, or a small grant for an economic project—are identified and assisted immediately.

Our model recognizes that the poorest people face many obstacles to their economic recovery. Only a comprehensive, multi-dimensional program offers them an opportunity for true economic recovery. Each poor family participating in a PEP program receives the real help it needs to rise out of poverty. Our limited resources are utilized most efficiently and effectively on those in greatest needs, while graduation from poverty happens more rapidly for larger numbers of poor.

“The PEP model is more effective than the micro-credit approach, especially for helping the medium poor to reach the minimum economic level and for the chronically indebted poor to gain a cash income without increasing their debt through cross-financing.”

– Rie Makita, PhD, Japanese Development Scholar. She is the author of “Livelihood Diversification and Landlessness in Rural Bangladesh”, published by the University Press Limited in 2007.