Poverty Stoplight

Grant Details

Organization: Poverty Stoplight USA
Country: United States of America
Project Name: Poverty Stoplight USA

The Poverty Stoplight is a tool integrated in a technology platform that seeks to activate the potential of families and communities to lift themselves out of poverty. Poverty Stoplight is different from other anti-poverty programs in that: (i) the evaluation’s indicators are self-assessed by the individuals and families who participate, (ii) it includes measures of agency and organization, and (iii) it is designed to cover only those indicators that are actionable by the family members themselves. The goal of this two-year project is to establish Poverty Stoplight in the United States by recruiting, training, and supporting organizations that serve the poor and are ready to invest in an approach to poverty eradication based on self-sufficiency.

Contribution to enhancing freedom

Poverty is difficult to escape in part because welfare systems inadvertently serve to keep individuals dependent. Poverty Stoplight aims to help people participate in the market economy, rather than becoming trapped by programs that are overly bureaucratic and inefficient. The key of the approach is to trust families, respect low-income people, and know that they will make the decisions that will work best for them. Poverty Stoplight enhances the freedom of the individual to take advantage of opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty by enhancing their “critical agency.” To alleviate poverty in the US and beyond, it is essential that the discussion around poverty shift to the capabilities of the poor rather than their weaknesses.

The process explained

An organization finds out about the Stoplight and, based on their objectives and capacity, chooses if they want to use the Stoplight in their organization and/or become a distributor of the tool.
The organization signs an agreement and receives training on the technology and methodology. They choose their target population and embed the Stoplight into their programming.
Families from their target population complete the self-assessment survey, which helps them not only to become aware of their situation, but also to visualize a life where all indicators are green.
Out of all indicators marked red or yellow, families select the one they want to improve first. An integrated intervention model helps families reflect on possible causes for these reds and yellows as a basis to design their own poverty elimination strategy.
With the support of the organization and their intervention plan, families identify solutions to address the indicators they have selected. While leveraging resources available within themselves, their community, and other organizations, families remain the central agents of change.
After working on their solutions, families update their self-assessment survey. In this way, they are able to see their progress and select new priorities to improve next. The organization, on their side, can monitor their results and learn from successful strategies.
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