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DEAR FRIENDS,

Glen and Mildred Robbins Leet began Trickle Up in 1979 with the conviction that all people are entitled to lives of prosperity, security, and peace.

As we enter 2018, it’s worth a moment to look back over Trickle Up’s tremendous progress and to the opportunities in front of us.

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"I feel proud of the work I’m doing now. Next year, I would like to increase my savings and go back to school. My dream is that my son studies, eats well, grows well, and is successful."

MARIA DIEGO, Ixcán Guatemala

As we approach Trickle Up’s 40th anniversary in 2019, it’s fair to say that these will be the two most historic years since Trickle Up was founded.

Here are some indicators of our progress in the past 12 months:

IMPACT

In our fiscal year 2017 (9/1/16-8/31/17), Trickle Up and our partners served 71,524 people – nearly six times the number reached in 2015. This year we expect to reach more than 100,000 households and, with each Trickle Up enterprise benefiting an average of five people, we will touch more than half a million lives.

GEOGRAPHY

We added several countries to the Trickle Up map: Bangladesh, Chad, Mauritania, Mexico, Niger, Paraguay, Senegal, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Trickle Up now works in 17 countries.

Where We Work

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COMBATING HUNGER

66% of participants in Guatemala experienced fewer incidences of hunger, reporting little or none. (Alliance for Rural Inclusion & Empowering Adolescent Girls in Guatemala)

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As we approach Trickle Up’s 40th anniversary in 2019, it’s fair to say that these will be the two most historic years since Trickle Up was founded.

Here are some indicators of our progress in the past 12 months:

IMPACT

In our fiscal year 2017 (9/1/16-8/31/17), Trickle Up and our partners served 71,524 people – more than five times the number reached in previous years. This year we expect to reach more than 100,000 households and, with each Trickle Up enterprise benefiting an average of five people, we will touch more than half a million lives.

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GEOGRAPHY

We added several countries to the Trickle Up map: Bangladesh, Chad, Mauritania, Mexico, Niger, Paraguay, Senegal, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Trickle Up now works in 17 countries.

Where We Work

BUDGET

Our annual income in fiscal year (FY) 17 was $4.7 million, an 18% increase from FY16. In FY18, our annual budget is about $7.5 million, double our FY15 result. That growth is being driven by MetLife Foundation; the US State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration; the USAID Food for Peace program in Uganda; Tata Group, and increases by long-time individual and foundation funders.

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BUDGET

Our annual income in fiscal year (FY) 17 was $4.7 million, an 18% increase from FY16. In FY18, our annual budget is about $7.5 million, double our FY15 result. That growth is being driven by MetLife Foundation; the US State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration; the USAID Food for Peace program in Uganda; Tata Group, and increases by long-time individual and foundation funders.

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ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

92% of participants are engaged in multiple income-generating activities. (India, Promoting Rural Livelihoods through Transformative Financial Inclusion)

TALENT

This year, in keeping with our geographic and volume growth, our staff will be about 70 professionals – double our size two years ago – in our New York headquarters and regional offices in Burkina Faso, Guatemala, and India. In addition, Trickle Up and our local partners mobilize an estimated 800-1,000 field staff and coaches to meet regularly with Trickle Up program participants for training and regular follow-up support.

Numbers only tell part of the story though. Here are some other important markers of our progress:

TALENT

This year, in keeping with our geographic and volume growth, our staff will be about 70 professionals – double our size two years ago – in our New York headquarters and regional offices in Burkina Faso, Guatemala, and India. In addition, Trickle Up and our local partners mobilize an estimated 800-1,000 field staff and coaches to meet regularly with Trickle Up program participants for training and regular follow-up support.

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Numbers only tell part of the story though. Here are some other important markers of our progress:

VULNERABLE POPULATIONS

We have always been committed to serving the poorest and most vulnerable populations, but historically our focus has emphasized economic poverty. More recently, we are emphasizing the dimensions of both poverty and vulnerability. Our refugee program, which began five years ago with a partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has expanded to include the US State Department and USAID, and serves refugees in seven countries.

We continue to build on our years of experience helping people with disabilities build sustainable livelihoods. New projects in the Americas will focus on preventing early pregnancy and marriage among teenage girls, and some of our work in Burkina Faso addresses child labor, early marriage, and early pregnancy. In India, Mexico, and Paraguay, we have deepened our focus on indigenous populations.

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“I’ve learned to face problems on my own. My children are going to school now, so everything is going in a good direction.”

ARPITA MANDAL, West Bengal, India

ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

188% return on seed capital investments in participants’ economic activities in Guatemala. (Alliance for Rural Inclusion & Empowering Adolescent Girls in Guatemala)

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DIGITAL INNOVATION

Digital communications and commerce are redefining almost every industry. Trickle Up has begun our journey applying digital and mobile technologies to our work. With the support of the Tata Foundation, our mobile project in India has developed apps that will help Trickle Up participants manage their businesses and savings. Our Guatemala team is leading us in using digital tools for monitoring and analyzing program results.

PARTNERSHIPS FOR SCALE

Five years ago, when we embarked on a strategy to partner with governments in order to dramatically scale our impact, we really weren’t sure if we’d succeed.

Today we can point with pride to government partnerships in every region where we work and with some of the world’s most important government poverty alleviation agencies.

They include the National Rural Livelihoods Mission in India, the Prospera conditional cash transfer program in Mexico, and the World Bank’s Adaptive Social Protection program in five West African countries. We partner with UNHCR in multiple locations. In Guatemala and Nicaragua, we have partnered with local governments, in keeping with national and local norms for government decentralization.

SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT

76% of children with disabilities reported feeling more independent and 51% reported higher self-esteem. (Guatemala, Alliance for Rural Inclusion)

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PROTECTING CHILDREN

Children were 58% less likely to experience physical or emotional abuse at home and households spent $37 more on their children. (Burkina Faso,  Assessing Child Wellbeing and Protection Outcomes)

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Trickle Up is a natural complement to government social protection programs (also known as safety net programs). Social protection programs include pensions, widows’ benefits, and support for people with disabilities and other populations. The type of social protection most relevant to Trickle Up are cash transfers that can come with conditional requirements (e.g., linked to vaccinations or school attendance) or straight payments without conditions. An estimated 45 countries employ cash transfer programs today, reaching over 500 million individuals.

Partnering with government social protection agencies provides two important benefits. One is that Trickle Up, when paired with a government social protection program like those of our partners Prospera in Mexico and the National Rural Livelihoods Mission in India, can yield greater, more sustainable impact than a cash transfer or other social protection program can alone. The second benefit is scale. When existing funding for social protection programs can be used to cover most of the cost of delivering Trickle Up, our net incremental cost declines considerably. That makes it possible for governments and Trickle Up to achieve greater scale and impact.

EMBRACING CHANGE

There are many other examples of how Trickle Up has advanced in 2017: important research from our M&E and Research team, improvements in how we manage our financial systems, greater use of social media and other techniques to raise Trickle Up’s visibility, and growth of our board to 20 members. As we grow in size and scope, we are continuously strengthening our organization.

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“The savings group is powerful. We became like a family. If someone has a problem, we’re on her side. We respect and help one another.”

MARIAM BARRY, Burkina Faso, West Africa

Trickle Up is a natural complement to government social protection programs (also known as safety net programs). Social protection programs include pensions, widows’ benefits, and support for people with disabilities and other populations. The type of social protection most relevant to Trickle Up are cash transfers that can come with conditional requirements (e.g., linked to vaccinations or school attendance) or straight payments without conditions. An estimated 45 countries employ cash transfer programs today, reaching over 500 million individuals.

Partnering with government social protection agencies provides two important benefits. One is that Trickle Up, when paired with a government social protection program like those of our partners Prospera in Mexico and the National Rural Livelihoods Mission in India, can yield greater, more sustainable impact than a cash transfer or other social protection program can alone. The second benefit is scale. When existing funding for social protection programs can be used to cover most of the cost of delivering Trickle Up, our net incremental cost declines considerably. That makes it possible for governments and Trickle Up to achieve greater scale and impact.

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EMBRACING CHANGE

There are many other examples of how Trickle Up has advanced in 2017: important research from our M&E and Research team, improvements in how we manage our financial systems, greater use of social media and other techniques to raise Trickle Up’s visibility, and growth of our board to 20 members. As we grow in size and scope, we are continuously strengthening our organization.

In a period of exciting growth and evolution, one thing never changes: our mission.

Over the years, our methods have evolved, and our organization has changed, but we remain true to our founders’ bold vision from nearly 40 years ago. Most of all, we thank you – our funders, partners, and other allies – who make it possible for Trickle Up to help ever-greater numbers of people escape extreme poverty.
 

Gratefully,
 
Bill Abrams, President
Penny Foley, Board Chair