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Two documentaries highlight the Targeting the Ultra Poor Program in a northern Ghanaian village. We aim to distribute the films worldwide to conferences, courses, festivals, key decision-makers and policy-makers. A visual tool available with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.
CLIMBING THE LADDER:
The role of a poverty alleviation program in a northern Ghanaian village
Could four goats and two chickens change a life? If you live in the rural Northern district in Ghana, the answer is yes. Women selected by the Targeting the Ultra Poor Program (TUP) are changing their lives and those of their children as they participate in the Challenging the Frontiers of Poverty Reduction program (CFPR) which combines a gift of an asset with complementary strategies, such as training in the use of the asset and other life skills, a time-bound cash stipend, and introduction of a savings scheme, instead of focusing on only one aspect of poverty. Similar programs were implemented in Peru, Honduras, India, Pakistan, and Ethiopia.
The film highlights the daily choices and progress of a few participants in the program. An evaluation of the intervention by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) provides a perspective of how well the program performed relative to a control group of similar families who did not participate in the program. From their initial selection by means of a poverty ranking system involving the entire village to their growing savings account balances we celebrate their climb up the ladder toward an improved life for them and their children. More than an economic growth story this is the tale of human resilience and fortitude in the face of extreme poverty.
IPA GUP FILM
The brightly coloured dresses of the women selected to participate in the Targeting the Ultra Poor Program (TUP) are not the only highlights in this inspiring evaluation of a poverty alleviation project with a difference. Children with access to education, women with steadily growing savings accounts and improved food security are just some of the positive outcomes of this multi-dimensional anti-poverty program in Northern Ghana. Similar programs were implemented in Peru, Honduras, India, Pakistan, and Ethiopia. Beginning with a few livestock, a large bag of grain and some basic utensils, training in how to use the assets and life skills, and introduction of a savings component, the women begin a slow climb which has a profound impact on their lives and those of their children.
Daniel is the loved and generous implementation manager who goes beyond his call of duty in the village. Coming from a rural background himself he understands most of the challenges facing the villagers. He implements the GUP program in the village, assists with educating the beneficiaries about the program and motivates them to save and grow their assets.
Alima never sits down. Her hard work and determination to improve the lives of her family members is evident as she works tirelessly collecting water for the goats, planting and sowing her crops and saves and reinvests her earnings to grow her faming business’s. The children’s education is imperative to Alima. She uses her savings to contribute towards Yussif’s equipment needed for college.
Mariama is the only breadwinner in her family of daughters, her mother and a mentally handicapped brother. She opted for both the rice processing business and goat rearing from the IPA. Mariama’s rice processing business has not worked. She feels that she could not reach her goals efficiently due to travel expenses to the market and her inability at her age to carry the heavy rice loads to the mill and to the market. Her goat herd has been a big success and she concentrates on that now and other traditional farming methods.
After finishing school Yussif has been applying to study but has been rejected. Determined to save up for it, he has been farming beans and saving the money. With the help of Daniel, Yussif eventually receives his admission letter after being accepted into college. He goes off to study environmental health.
Seidu is deaf and knows no sign language, yet he has an intuitive communication system with his family. Unable to cope in the boarding school at the deaf school, he drops out and continues the tradition of farming that has been in his family for generations. He not only is in charge of the crops but also looks after the IPA goats.
Alima’s husband was injured in a bicycle accident which makes him unable to farm like he used to. This puts pressure on Alima and means his sons arethe bread winners. Being illiterate he wishes that he and Alima had gone to school and is determined that his children get educated at whatever cost.
Trains the GUP Implementation managers. Visits the northern Ghanaian village at the end of the program to follow up on the progress. Realises that the program is not suited for all and that government support is a good step for future programs in Ghana.
Believes that the GUP has the best content and value. John feels that the program places emphasis on empowerment and security.
Karin Slater’s deep interest in cultural diversity and rural life has led her to documenting the lives of interesting people across the globe, from working with the Kalahari bushmen to the Shipibo people in the Amazon. Amongst other things, she has also raised leopards, a lioness and tigers while working making wildlife documentaries. Her films have screened at Sundance, Berlinale, Hot Docs, Museum of Modern Art, New York and she has won numerous awards including the Trailblazer Award for innovative and creative work in the field of documentaries at Mipdoc, Cannes 2008 and at the New York Film and Television Awards in 2016.
In 2006, Timothy participated in the 4th Berlinale Talent in Berlin and the Real Life Film Festival workshop in Accra. Since graduating from Film School with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television Production, Timothy has worked on documentary film projects such as ‘African Maestro’ (2015), ‘First Earth’ (2008), ‘Roots Germania’ (2007). His short narrative films include ‘Harmattan Pawpaw’ (2014), ‘Forgive Me, Yrene’ (2007) and ‘Like the Sun’ (2006).
In July 2011 Timothy attended the IDFAcademy Summer School in Amsterdam, where he received mentoring from industry professionals for his first documentary film ‘White Volta’.
Steven Markovitz is an award-winning Producer with over 20 years’ experience in feature films, documentaries, distribution and festivals. He has an extensive production and distribution network across Africa and has co-produced with over ten countries internationally. Steven manages the production company Big World Cinema and co-founded the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival. His productions have screened at Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Sundance, IDFA, Hotdocs and received an Oscar nomination.
The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor is a global partnership of 34 leading organizations that seek to advance financial inclusion. CGAP develops innovative solutions through practical research and active engagement with financial service providers, policy makers, and funders to enable approaches at scale. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP combines a pragmatic approach to responsible market development with an evidence-based advocacy platform to increase access to the financial services the poor need to improve their lives.www.cgap.org
Innovations for Poverty Actions (IPA) is a research and policy non-profit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor.www.poverty-action.org
We believe in the inherent dignity of all people. But around the world, too many people are excluded from the political, economic, and social institutions that shape their lives. Across eight decades, our mission has sought to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement.www.fordfoundation.org
We hope this film can be used as a visual tool on any and all platforms. All feedback and further information requests pertaining to the film can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org