Poverty Stoplight Program

Developed by Fundacion Paraguaya the Poverty Stoplight is a practical methodology and self-evaluation, visual survey tool that allows families to self-diagnose their quality of life as a first step in developing a personalized strategy to progress out of poverty. There are six dimensions of poverty: Income & Employment, Health & Environment, Housing & Infrastructure, Education & Culture, Organization & Participation and Interiority & Motivation. Each indicator within the six dimensions is defined as Red (extreme poverty), Yellow (poverty) or Green (not poverty).

The Poverty Stoplight methodology is based on four insights. First, poverty is about much more than insufficient income. Second, poverty doesn’t affect families uniformly; each family has a different set of poverty-related problems to resolve. Third, the main protagonists in eliminating poverty must be the poor themselves. Institutions, however farsighted or well-funded, do not have sufficient insight into individual families or sufficient resources to permanently eliminate poverty on their behalf. Fourth, a poverty-elimination strategy must be scalable, which means that it must cost very little to implement and, ultimately, must sustain itself financially.

In the past three years, the Poverty Stoplight has expanded globally, with Fundación Paraguaya working to adapt the methodology to local contexts in collaboration with partners including UNICEF China, The UN, Heifer International, The Clothing Bank (South Africa), the Standard Microfinance Bank and American University of Nigeria, Women’s Global Empowerment Fund (Uganda) and Junior Achievement (Latin America), among others. Fundación Paraguaya is now working with over 35 organizations in more than 20 countries globally.

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