Graduation Approach

Our approach has passed the test

Hundreds of thousands of women have used our proven approach to build better lives for themselves and break free from extreme poverty. 

How it works

We go to the toughest places on earth to help resourceful but marginalized people start and run profitable businesses so they can earn, save, and build better lives. Here’s how it all works.


Participant Selection

We don’t choose participants. Local communities do.

Together, we map the community down to each home and identify the families that are most in need. Then our field team visits each home to interview family members, confirm that they meet our criteria for enrollment, and are willing to join Trickle Up.

Visit our projects

Market Analysis

We’re opportunistic. We see opportunity everywhere.

Our community-based partners know the local markets and help women find ways to start profitable businesses. Growing staple foods like rice or cash crops like tomatoes, raising goats and chickens, or keeping bees are all ways that Trickle Up participants earn incomes.

Meet our partners


Build a Solid Foundation

A flood, a failed crop, a sick child, finding the next meal. We help families cope with shocks and stresses.

Families in extreme poverty face tough challenges every day. Before participants start in our program, we provide a grant to help them meet their basic needs so they can focus on the future.

Learn more about poverty

Start a Sustainable Business

Women have ideas and talent.  We help turn them into profitable businesses.

With startup capital and training, a shop beside a busy road becomes more than just a good idea. A gift for weaving, with enough thread, does too. Our coaches help participants plan and troubleshoot along the way. After a few months, participants are earning enough profit to feed their families and save for the future.

Meet a successful businesswoman

Save and Support One Another

Savings are key. We encourage women to think outside the box.

Our savings groups are a safe place for participants to save and build a social support system. Members pool their savings on a regular basis in a metal box with three locks. Each key is kept by a different group member so all three must be present to open the box. Savings groups make loans to help members expand or start businesses. Some groups even grow to become the first informal banks for their entire community.

Meet a savings group

Graduate Out of Poverty

We help break barriers.  Our participants inspire others.

After about 18 months, participants break through barriers that once held them back. Participants are eating more and better food, sending their children to school, and have enough saved to weather emergencies and plan for the future. Neighbors and family members find inspiration in their success. Savings groups work together to advocate for better roads, wells, and other improvements. And the community begins to change.

Let’s go further


We don’t always get it right

But when something doesn’t work, we aren’t afraid to ask tough questions to learn why. We monitor our projects to learn, improve, and share results.


See our impact


Are women building livelihoods that are dignified, diversified, productive, and sustainable?


Do women have access to fair and effective means of saving money and accessing credit?


Are women more resilient to instability caused by shocks and trends?


Do women and their families enjoy a better quality of life, including more and better food and access to healthcare?


Do women have improved access to available social services?


Are women making significant progress toward social inclusion within communities and empowerment at home?