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Can You Lift a Family Out of Poverty With 6.53 Goats?

A study of poverty-fighting has mixed results. Many hungry families couldn’t resist eating some of the farm animals they were given
A goat herder with his livestock in India.

A goat herder with his livestock in India.

Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Giving the world’s poorest people farm animals and other support increases their standard of living, though not enough to free them from poverty, says a study published on Thursday in the journal Science.

The study is the first thorough, multinational look at “graduation” programs—intensive, multipronged efforts to spring people from what academics call the poverty trap. Aside from farm animals like goats, sheep, and chickens, recipients get food, training, coaching, encouragement to save, and health education and services. The interventions last two years.