President Santos: Graduation for the Extreme Poor a Hallmark of Government’s Social Policy

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos speaks about the need for programs, among them Fundación Capital's Graduation Project, directed at the country's poorest citizens at a social innovation forum in Bogotá, Colombia.

Bogotá, Colombia, March 22, 2012 --( Speaking Friday at the ANSPE Social Innovation Forum, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos spoke to the need for a social policy directed at the country’s poorest citizens, underlining his government’s vow to "graduate" 350,000 families living in extreme poverty by 2014.

The President’s social policy framework, which aims to reduce the overall percentage of extreme poor in the country from 12.3% of the population to 9.5%, will incorporate “sustainable graduation,” the concept of helping extreme poor families advance to improved and more stable socio-economic situations in which, while still living below the poverty line, they can begin to strengthen their assets and generate durable and sustainable incomes.

Working closely with the Colombian government’s social agencies, Fundación Capital’s Graduation Project will be a key part of implementing the president’s strategy. Drawing on lessons learned from similar projects implmeneted by BRAC, CGAP, and others, the Graduation Project will design and implement two pilot projects in 2012 directed at testing innovative ways of reaching the poorest of the poor.

The forum, which featured presentations from experts such as Design Thinking’s Barry Katz and Acumen Fund founder Jacqueline Novogratz, centered on the need to think creatively and innovate in order to have a meaningful impact on poverty in what is one of the world’s most unequal countries.; this need to rethink poverty and other social issues is a key component of the Graduation Project’s mission.

“Graduation is about more than providing temporary relief to the poor. It’s about changing the approach to understanding poverty, creating exit strategies that are practical, effective and, most importantly, permanent,” says Tatiana Rincón, Project Coordinator for the Graduation Project. “To date, the development community hasn’t been too successful in having a long term impact on poverty in Latin America – that’s why we need to try something new.”

The Graduation Project is supported by the Ford Foundation and managed by Fundación Capital. For more information, visit

Fundación Capital is a non-profit organization working to create opportunities for financial inclusion and enhance assets for low-income families. Founded in 2009, Fundación Capital works in over 14 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, designing and implementing projects that help low-income families to make their own choices, manage their own assets, and determine their own path out of poverty. For more information about Fundación Capital and its projects, visit, or call +507 282 7447.

For more information on the Colombian National Agency for Exiting Extreme Poverty (ANSPE), visit

For more information contact:
Benjamin Russell
Fundación Capital
Benjamin Russell
+57 321 371 9576