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Investments

International Care Ministries (ICM)

  • LocationPhilippines
  • SectorHealth
  • Project stageScale

International Care Ministries (ICM) leverages a large network of pastors (12,000 in 85 provinces) in the Philippines to deliver a “light-touch” version of a graduation program called Transform. Transform is a multi-faceted graduation program that deploys mentorship and training to lift poor people out of poverty.The curriculum consists of three modules: Values, Health Behaviours, and Livelihood Skills – each delivered in 30-minute sessions (for a 90-minute package) once a week to a cohort of 30 villagers fora duration of 15 weeks. GIF has awarded a USD 5,00,000 grant to enable The International Care Ministries (ICM), a 25-year-old reputable Philippine NGO, to refine and scale its “light-touch” graduation innovation called “Transform”.

International  Care  Ministries  (ICM)

The Development Problem

People living in ultra-poverty, defined as living on less than 50 US cents a day, make up over half of the estimated 797 million people living in extreme poverty. The Philippines is home to 7 million people who are living in ultra- poverty. However, the ultra-poor are usually left out of development interventions, government assistance programs, and market-based interventions like microfinance due to pre-requirements such as assets, savings, or a steady income source.

Due to a range of constraints, a multifaceted set of interventions are required to tackle the complex nature of ultra-poverty. This has been fulfilled by graduation programs in different low- and middle-income countries with relative success. Graduation programs offer a range of services such as asset transfers for income generation, financial literacy, business training, and social protection to create the right conditions to help people graduate out of poverty. However, such an approach is expensive and difficult to scale due to the asset transfer component, the requirement for high quality human engagement for training purposes.

The Innovation

The International Care Ministries (ICM) uses a different approach to the standard Graduation models deployed globally. They leverage a large network of pastors and the pastors' social capital in villages to deliver a "light-touch" version of Graduation, called Transform, to last-mile locations. Transform focuses on providing training and mentoring services, without any explicit large asset transfer or basic income support, resulting in a fully loaded cost of approximately $12 per family member. ICM attributes this efficiency to it leveraging the local infrastructure of deeply embedded faith communities. Prior to GIF investment, ICM had graduated over 250,000 families from its four-month Transform program to date, directly impacting 1.3 million family members.

GIF's Investment

$5.5 Million

In May 2020 GIF provided ICM with a five-year $5.4M grant to optimise and scale its programme within the Philippines and other countries. GIF funding will enable ICM to determine the optimal mix of different elements of this Graduation approach that can be scaled up by ICM within and outside the Philippines. This will be achieved by rigorous testing of various adaptations to the Transform programme, carried out in partnership with innovations for Poverty Action, before a large scale randomised controlled trial to evaluate the impact of the revised programme.


Why we invested

  • Focus on extremely poor households, with the potential to benefit millions of people in this population in the Philippines and elsewhere.
  • GIF investment focus is on finding the optimal configuration of Transform, generating important evidence to signal the most important elements and mix for cost-effectiveness
  • Codifying what works for Graduation programmes under this model can be a public good, influencing other programs in this vibrant space.
  • High additionality from financing the part of program expansion that struggles to attract funders –improving the programmatic and operational efficiency of existing programme to generate greater value for money from proposed spending
  • ICM’s track record of over two decades of on-ground presence in the Philippines and experience in working with more than a million families

Theory of Change:

Transform is unique in its offering compared to the other traditional Graduation programs because it goes beyond quantifiable and immediate increases in income to also deliver on social capital, personal optimism, cognitive well-being, and household responsiveness. In addition to income, these are in and on themselves very valuable and impactful for poor people. Thus, the theory of change is about generating income, but more importantly, creating the mental, cognitive, and social conditions to enable poor people to engage more effectively with life and its opportunities and adversities.

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