Graduation Project Forum in Cartagena Will Create Extreme Poverty Working Group

Leaders in social development will participate in two-day forum with Fundación Capital for strengthening policies to address extreme poverty in the region.

Cartagena, Colombia, June 27, 2012 --( On June 28-29, leading international development policymakers, practitioners and academics will gather for the Graduation in Public Policy Forum, two days of discussion and presentations on sustainable approaches to addressing poverty that will culminate in the formation of a regional working group on extreme poverty for Latin America and the Caribbean. The forum will be held at Cartagena’s Santa Teresa Hotel as part of Fundación Capital’s “Graduation Project,” a collaborative initiative with the Colombian government’s Department for Social Prosperity to create and implement public policy addressed to the country’s extreme poor.

Participants will include the General Sub-director for Colombia’s Department for Social Prosperity, the Vice-Minister of Social Benefits of Peru, the director of the Social Investment Fund of El Salvador, the Regional Director for Chile’s Solidarity and Social Investment Fund, and the Chief Economist for the Latina America and Caribbean Office of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), among others.

The event will offer lessons both for and from the Colombian experience with graduation, and comes as the benefits of economic growth is beginning to reach the country’s poor and extreme poor populations. DANE, Colombia’s statistics administrator, announced in May that the country’s poverty rate had dropped by 3% in 2011, extreme poverty by 1.7%, and that its Gini coefficient, a standardized measurement of inequality, had for the first time dropped below .55.

“We’re starting to real results in addressing extreme poverty and inequality in Colombia. Now the focus is on deepening that impact and expanding it throughout the region,” says Tatiana Rincón, project coordinator for the Graduation Project. “Graduation in this context is about sustainability – the idea that tailored approaches can permanently reduce poverty and reach segments of the population that many social programs miss.”

Discussions will center on two separate conceptions of “graduation” in the context of social policy; the first, that policies aimed at providing minor benefits or services to the extreme poor can help them graduate in a sustainable way to more manageable levels of poverty; and second, that participants in social protection programs, such as recipients of conditional cash transfers (CCTs), must be given the tools to graduate out of such programs once they no longer need them to generate sustainable improvements in their quality of life.

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.

The Graduation in Public Policy Forum is open to the press with RSVP. For further information, participants lists or interview requests, please contact Benjamin Russell at or call +57 602 5530.
Fundación Capital
Benjamin Russell
+57 321 371 9576